If We Were Having Coffee // Toughing It Out

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

I didn’t think we would meet today. I am stuck in bed today trying my best to recover from a throat infection. I didn’t think I would drink coffee at all since I should be sleeping but I’ve always felt that a little spending a little time up and about is important while your sick so you don’t get too down and nothing lifts the spirits like caffeine so why not? I can’t help being sick, but I don’t have to be miserable through it, do I?

Please, pull up a chair and grab yourself a cup. The weather is still chilly but I’m in no mood for the ritual of the Moka pot. So, cold brew and vanilla almond milk it is. Let’s have a short chat about last week.

“Some mornings there just isn’t enough coffee.”

― Carol Preflatish

If we were having coffee, I would tell you this past week wasn’t a good one. I felt down and discouraged most of it. I wasn’t working well with others and even on my own I felt unmotivated and directionless. On Tuesday I took a day to myself in and attempt to restart the week, but it didn’t work. In fact, I just felt worse. Time was thrown off and then there was the guilt. I’ve never been good at those “mental health” days.

Looking back now I wonder if it was because I was getting sick. The sore throat started on Wednesday but I thought I had simply burned it on hot food the day before. On Thursday it was a little worse, but I had no other symptoms so I still figured it was an injury rather than an illness.

On Friday the cough started, but it was light and I still felt fine, just a little tired that was all so I didn’t worry too much. Yesterday things escalated and the sore throat turned into an earache, then a headache, then my sinuses began to hurt, and the fatigue got bad.

I’m avoiding the cough drops and the nasty cold medicines as much as I can since they don’t sit well with my sensitive digestive tract anymore but that means I’m toughing it out in bed and not getting to do all my usual Sunday things.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you despite feeling cruddy I did have a wonderful “Saturdate” with my wife yesterday.

We woke up early, got clean up and fancy, and went downtown for brunch and a Colorado ballet performance of Don Quixote. Brunch was at our favorite jazz place featuring a live band, an all you can eat buffet of my breakfast favorites, a whole bottle of champagne between us for Bellinis and mimosas. We over stuffed ourselves and left feeling pleasantly tipsy to catch the show.

The ballet was okay. Last year we saw a ballet performance in the same opera house of Dracula and nothing have lived up to that display of perfection since. In this show there was a much greater display of dance talent, but the story was not as gripping which makes me think I need to supplement my cultural outings with a few plays. I saw a poster for DCPA performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night next month and I’m really thinking about going.

After Don Quixote we stopped for coffee and sweet treats to take home and spent the rest of the evening eating and drinking while catching up on the weeks shows. It was a perfect day.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we my youngest nephew turned 1 years old this week and though I wasn’t enthused about rushing home after work on a Friday night to bake a lasagna and a wrap presents for a one-year-old’s birthday party, I’m glad I went.

It was a small affair, just close family, that’s all. The birthday boy was just happy to be given so many treats, and kisses, and to be allowed to crawl about and play with tissue paper. He had a perfect day too I think. His older sister, two years his senior, on the other hand, struggled not to be the center of attention. She pouted and whined, acted like a baby, demanded to be held, and took all of her brother’s new toys. It was frustrating, but I felt sorry for the girl too. I know, being a big sister many times over myself, how it feels like to suddenly be forced to share more and more of the people you love most with someone else. How it feels to, from your perspective, be forgotten.

Luckily another family member got her a small gift too and I think going forward I will do the same, and for her brother on her birthday too. I might make it a tradition and extend the practice to my other sibling’s children too.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that next week is going to be a busy one. I’ve got a lot scheduled but I’ve noticed lately that half the work I think I have to do ends up getting canceled or postponed, so maybe it won’t be as bad as I worry it will. I just hope I feel well enough to make it through. It’s the last real week before fall break.

I’m still going to work during the break, but it’ll be light work, and it’ll only be for 3 days instead of 5. I plan to take the last two days to unwind with my wife before we both have to return to work. Until then I just have to hang in there. I have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep the light at the end of the tunnel in view.

I honestly hope I do stay busy. The time passes faster that way. The more work I have the less room there is in the day for fatigue, negative thoughts, and irritation. I think I’ll add some “me time” to my calendar, little creative spaces for me to look forward too.

This past week I did the same. During my lunches I worked on little posts about my favorite spooky, disturbing, and gory paintings under my “art history” tag. I spent a few evenings this week in my “creativity room” for a little collage art fun too. I’m hoping that this week I’ll be able to make and share more of both. Stay tuned.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sun has moved on to the west windows and I’ve migrated back to the bed. The cough is bad again and I’ve had all the tea I can stomach and I’ve hit my limit on the cough drop so it’s back to sleep I go.

I hope you had a good week. I hope the world didn’t ask too much of you. I hope you are well and that the new season is treating you well. I hope you made time for you this week and if you didn’t I hope you put yourself first in the next.

Until next time.

Tame Impala // Patience

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

Photo courtesy of Barn Images

If We Were Having Coffee // Making Time for Myself

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

I woke up early this morning after a much-needed, and quite elusive, good night’s sleep. I’m up, but I’m not particularly motivated, so it’s still a slow start. The chill in the air doesn’t help and though I feel rested the warmth of the bed is still tempting me back. I miss summer already, or I miss summer mornings, theses cooler afternoons have been much-appreciated. For now, I’m on the couch, wrapped in blankets and finishing a hot cup of green tea before I move on to the hard stuff.

So, pull up a chair and grab yourself a cup. I filled the Moka pot with blond roast grounds and when it’s done; I have sweet vanilla almond milk to pour over top. Let’s talk about last week!

“That’s something that annoys the hell out of me—I mean if somebody says the coffee’s all ready and it isn’t.”

J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week didn’t turn out at all the way I thought it would.

I expected a very busy week but every morning I went in to work my schedule changed. Some work was canceled, other work got more complicated and difficult. The routes I went on often had no regular driver or assistant so both the driver thrown on it for that day and I were effectively the blind leading the blind. Luckily I am good at this. I have a system utilizing all the information I have on a student and google maps to get us, and the kids, where we need to go.

Most of the training I was supposed to do ended up getting postponed and then canceled altogether but rather than having guilt-free hours to do as I please I ended up having to hustle for work to justify the pay. Struggling to find ways to contribute was more tiring than any work I ended up finding to do. My hope is that next week will not necessarily be easier but that the work I am expected to do will be laid out a lot more neatly for me.

On a related note, thank god for my coworkers, who are also my friends, and who support me and keep me laughing. They keep me sane.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that what I really right now is a good night’s sleep, or rather, more than one night of rest in a row, please?

I’ve been complaining about it for a while now, I know, but I promise you I am trying to find a solution but it’s hard without knowing what the problem is. I suspect anxiety but I can’t be sure. I hope fixing the issue can be as easy as a lifestyle and diet change but I’m open to medication if neither helps. For now, I’m on an array of supplements both for my ulcerative colitis and to aid in sleeping. I’m taking iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, and peppermint oil. I’m trying to read more and to have a real bedtime routine. This week I’ll watch my caffeine intake, out into the sun during my lunch break, and taking melatonin up to an hour before bed.

Other than feeling like a zombie most days I’m doing okay. I’m still dealing with a lot of stress and worrying constantly about my loved ones, but it’s getting better, slowly. We’re getting to a tipping point where the time for worrying will be over and action will be taken. I like the action part of any crisis because it means eliminating things that can be worried about. Once an action is taken there’s no use in worrying anymore. You can finally relax and wait for the chips to fall where they may. I can’t wait to finally take some action.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’M AN AUNT AGAIN! My sister gave birth to her first child on Tuesday, a girl, and though I couldn’t get down to South Carolina for the birth, I’m going to go out there the first chance I get to meet my new niece. I am very excited for her and for our family. She is so cute and I know my sister and her boyfriend are so happy.

I’m hoping that this new life will bring us all closer together. Many of my sibling and I didn’t grow up together in the same households, in the same cities, or even the same states. One of us was born in a whole different country. We have different mothers and fathers and we grew up in different socioeconomic levels and learned different norms. We lead wholly different lives now but there is always something that ties us all together. We long to feel like family. We long to be the family our parent’s weaknesses wouldn’t let us be. As the oldest I feel like it’s my job to keep us together, but it’s a big job and I don’t always do it well but the next generation is here and growing and we all have to do better by them. We have to feel like a family.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I was much better at making time for myself this week. I spent my lunches away from my desk reading and working on my Coursera lessons. I was clear about being “off the clock” and warned that any work imposed on me would result in overtime pay. I didn’t give my time or attention for free and guarded both fiercely. 

I wish I had spent more time listening to music and podcasts. I didn’t write as much as I wanted to but switching my mind from work mode to writing mode was hard. The reading and lessons were much easier. My only disappointment was that when I got home in the evenings, I let laziness get the better of me though and never made it into my “creativity room”.

It’s hard to have any will power by then when I am so tired and stressed. The living room is comfortable. It’s where I go to turn my mind off, to be with my wife, the dog, the cat, to catch up on our favorite shows, to stretch out and to do nothing for a change. It’s an easy, peaceful place to be but I so often regret my time there. This week I’m going to continue to work on these bad habits.

I haven’t been exercising lately either, another thing I am supposed to be doing after work. It’s hard when you have to cook too and then get right into getting ready for the next day, but a 20-minute jog or simple bodyweight workout shouldn’t be impossible especially now that the weather has cooled off so much.

Still, I don’t want to be too hard on myself. There were so many little things I did this week that for me took bravery and focus. Eating well, taking all of my medication, advocating for myself, making my boundaries clear, not compromising my principles, just to name a few. I stood up with others and for others and I took care of my loved ones. I liked who I was this week and though it’s becoming a more and more regular feeling, it’s still a difficult and rare one to achieve.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it’s time for me to get to the laundry, the dishes, and the meal prep plans for the week. It’s time to get up off the couch, to pour another cup of coffee, open the blinds and start the day. It’s time for less talking and more doing.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you made some small progress, that you were given good news, and that you made time for you. I hope wherever you are the summer heat has faded but the winter cold is still far away. I hope it’s simply autumn.

Until next time.

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

Photo courtesy of Barn Images

The Week’s End // A Thought-Provoking Round-Up

Happy Saturday everyone! If you’re looking for some interesting things to read and see while you kick back and relax, look no further, here are my favorite things from around the web this week:

1. “Our story is a tragedy. I know it sounds odd, but that belief does not depress me. It focuses me.” — Ta-Nehisi Coates, On Being: Imagining a New America

2. “There are plenty of well-documented reasons to distrust Instagram—the platform where one is never not branding, never not making Facebook money, never not giving Facebook one’s data—but most unnerving are the ways in which it has led me to distrust myself.” — Tavi Gevinson, Who Would I Be Without Instagram? An investigation.

3. “Should our society be capitalist, socialist, or something in between? To adjudicate this debate, we must understand the definitions of ‘capitalism’ and ‘socialism.’” — Defining Capitalism and Socialism Bonus: Arguments for Capitalism and Socialism

4. “There is something peculiarly—even paradoxically—appealing about taking a dim view of human nature, a view that has become unquestioned dogma among many evolutionary biologists.” — David P Barash, Do human beings have an instinct for waging war?

5. “So mindful are we of the risks of selfishness, we run into an opposite danger: an abnegation of the self, a modesty that borders on self-erasure, an automatic impulse to give everything over to competing parties, a shyness about pressing oneself forward and a manic inability to say ‘no’ or cause the slightest frustration to others.” — The School of Life

6. “the thing beyond the body which is you is peeled back and massive barely anything at all” — Robin Richardson, Origin Story Ad Nauseam (via Grace)

7. “…it’s interesting and instructive that you’ve named your theory terror management theory as opposed to death management theory. It’s not about avoiding death. It’s about avoiding the fear of death.” — Shankar Vedantam, Hidden Brain

8. “Having existential anxiety is what it means to be a human being” — Olessa Pindak, 4 Ways To Cope With Existential Anxiety, According To A Psychiatrist

9. “That pain is incommunicable is a lie in the face of the near-constant, trans-species, and universal communicability of pain. So the question, finally, is not whether pain has a voice or appearance: the question is whether those people who insist that it does not are interested in what pain has to say, and whose bodies are doing the talking.” — Anne Boyer, What is the Language of Pain?

10. “It may be that life is just an example of Grover’s quantum search at work, and that this algorithm is itself a fundamental property of nature. That’s a Big Idea if ever there was one.” — An important quantum algorithm may actually be a property of nature, MIT Technology Review

Laure Prouvost, Ideally this sign would take you outside (via This Isn’t Happiness)

Have you read, watched, written, or posted an interesting or inspiring thing this week? Has something on the internet made you feel strongly, think deeply, or see the world in a new light? If so, drop a link in the comments, we’d love to check it out!

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

The Week’s End

Happy Saturday everyone! If you’re looking for some interesting things to read and see while you kick back and relax, look no further, here is the best from around the web this week, according to me.

1. “What you do is you keep all of your passions at play in your life. So, if there are three things that you love more than anything in this world you spend time on those three things and then they start to talk to each other and that’s when your life begins to form.” — Austin Kleon // SXSW interview with Debbie Millman

Bonus: You don’t have to write about the bad stuff.

2. “Think of the world’s Five Big Problems. Climate change, mass extinction, inequality, stagnation, and extremism. The money that’s piled up in the hands of richest 1% of the richest 10% of people on earth should be used to solve those problems. In a very real sense, those problems are just different names for ‘too much money piling up in too few hands.’” — umair haque // (How) Capitalism Turned Life, the Planet, and Civilization into Money — and Our Challenge is Turning it Back

3. “Do It; You Can Always Apologise Later.” and other rules for radicals.

4. “But we have a solution. We decided to be irreverent to this idea that only lawyers can impact the courts. And to penetrate the judicial system with the power, intellect and ingenuity of community organizing. We call the approach ‘participatory defense.’” — Raj Jayadev // TEDxBinghamtonUniversity

5. “People look at my story and applaud me and wonder what I did to ‘beat the odds.’ I wish they were more curious about why my brother did not. I wish they would ask, ‘What trap lay before this talented, bright boy so that he was bound to fall into it?’” — Akintunde Ahmad // I Went to Yale. My Brother Went to Prison

6. “The claim of democracy doesn’t negate meritocracy, but they’re in tension. One values equality and openness, the other achievement and security. Neither can answer every need. To lose sight of either makes life poorer. The essential task is to bring meritocracy and democracy into a relation where they can coexist and even flourish.” — George Packer // When the Culture War Comes for the Kids

7. “That’s what our phones have become. An instant escape, and a constant burden.” — Ryan Holiday // A Radical Guide to Spending Less Time on Your Phone

8. “What did they want? More than anything? Violent things. Unattainable things.” — Courtney Zoffness // Hot for Teacher

9. “But unfortunately the embarrassing message has already been received, and probably wedged deep into her teenage brain: there are always going to be people leering at parts of your body that you may not even be thinking about.” — Hannah Smothers // An Adult Pointing out Exposed Parts of Your Body Can Haunt You For a Lifetime

10. “This is all to say that the closer I look at the evidence regarding how our brains function, the more I’m convinced that we’re designed to be single-threaded, working on things one at a time, waiting to reach a natural stopping point before moving on to what’s next.” — Cal Newport // Our Brains Are Not Multi-Threaded

11.This September, millions of us will walk out of our workplaces and homes to join young climate strikers on the streets and demand an end to the age of fossil fuels.”

12. “We have this affinity toward animals that are closer to us. We want to protect them. And the closer they are to us, the more we say that they must feel pain — that they’re worthy of protection. And the further they are evolutionary from us, the easier it is to morally excuse abuse of them.” — Leah Garcés // Battle-tested lessons from the animal rights struggle

13. Throwback: “In the most photographed and videotaped day in the history of the world, the images of people jumping were the only images that became, by consensus, taboo—the only images from which Americans were proud to avert their eyes.” — Tom Junod // The Falling Man

Have you read, watched, written, or posted an interesting or inspiring thing this week? Has something on the internet made you feel strongly, think deeply, or see the world in a new light? If so, drop a link in the comments, we’d love to check it out!

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

The Week’s End // A Collection of Inspiring Art and Words

Happy Saturday everyone! If you’re looking for some interesting things to read and see while you kick back and relax, look no further, here is the best from around the web this week, according to me.

1. The simple, yet expressive digital illustrations of Sharia Barzilay.

2. “Here’s one way to discourage people from indulging in a damaging habit: tax the hell out of it. Cigarettes and alcohol are already taxed. In some cities, soda is too. Is it time to embrace a meat tax?”

3. “We may not do good for the sake of being noticed, but in a world that seems to be growing in hostility more than ever before, we desperately need to see yours.”

4. “The real task of a trauma victim—the task that makes life worth living again—is to reconnect the self to the world.”

5. “State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes,
the energy sources, the kinds of security,
for which you would kill a child.
Name, please, the children whom
you would be willing to kill.”

6. “…it’s very easy to be wrong about other people’s motivations. You might assume that they share your perspective or context, think like you do, or have circumstances similar to yours. With such assumptions, you may conclude that they should also behave like you would or hold your beliefs. Unfortunately, often these assumptions are wrong.”

7. “In August of 1619, a ship appeared on this horizon, near Point Comfort, a coastal port in the British colony of Virginia. It carried more than 20 enslaved Africans, who were sold to the colonists. No aspect of the country that would be formed here has been untouched by the years of slavery that followed. On the 400th anniversary of this fateful moment, it is finally time to tell our story truthfully.”

8. “Write what you know,” goes the adage, but you don’t really know what you know until you write about it…It’s one thing to write to find out what you don’t know, but to write to find out what you don’t want to know takes guts.”

9. “I don’t want to become a better man, because you all know, what I’ve been told manhood is, it’s not anything I’m trying to aspire to. I want to become a better human person.”

10. “The hardest time to practice kindness is, of course, during a fight—but this is also the most important time to be kind. Letting contempt and aggression spiral out of control during a conflict can inflict irrevocable damage on a relationship.”

11. “Look, I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of books by men, I just get…tired.”

12. “The idea here is simple. Scratch your own itch…if you want to create something that solves your own problem, something you plan to love and use yourself, you already have a head start.”

13. “A liberal-minded couple, Amy and Peter Edgar, are forced to reconsider their image of their adopted son after they discover he has written an extremely disturbing essay for his class at school.”

Have you read, watched, or written an interesting or inspiring thing this week? Has something on the internet made you feel strongly, think deeply, or see the world in a new light? If so, drop a link in the comments, we’d love to check it out!

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash