073 // Digging Ourselves Out

So, the city has dug itself out and tomorrow we’re all heading back to work and to ordinary life. Half of me is sad that our bomb cycling vacation has to end, half of me is a little excited to see my coworkers and my students. I want to hear how everyone fared and are the city for myself.

Being snowed in for two days sounds nice in theory and in practice it really wasn’t too bad, but I know if it had gone on any longer than that and I would have started to go a little stir crazy.

We actually weren’t snowed in so much as it just took forever to get out. The sun was out and the day warmed enough to turn the snow drifts to slush and the rest to pooled water. The snow was heavy and hard to move and by the time I got my cold and sore body back into the house I needed a hot shower, a heating pad, and a nap. There was no time left to get out in the world after that.

I did manage to get more of my medical frustrations sorted out and tomorrow I’ll start a new medication to treat my ulcerative colitis. I brought up the yoga mat, the pull-up bar, and the weights from the basement so I can finally start working out. I also enrolled in a new online course, Learning How to Learn, and finished week 2 of Social Norms, Social Change II. So, the day wasn’t completely wasted.

I want to keep the same momentum going tomorrow. I’m looking forward to an early start, a light workload, and a good writing day.

P.S. I want to wish you all a very happy Pi Day. Pi Day is one of my very favorite holidays but, sadly, the winter storm prevented me from acquiring the necessary ingredients and I was unable to bake my own. Next year I plan to plan much more in advance.


These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren

072 // Tomorrow Has Been Canceled, Again

The storm was everything they predicted it would be. The rain started very early in the morning while it was still dark. It wasn’t a hard rain, more of a drizzle, but slowly as the morning wore on it froze as it fell and by the time I was making my second cup of coffee the big flakes were blowing.

By lunch, I started to worry. The wind was whipping around the house hard and the snow was piling up around the house and sticking to all the windows. I refreshed the news and realized that conditions were deteriorating rapidly all over the city. Businesses were without power, all the highways closed, the airport canceled every flight in or out, and our Governor declared an emergency.

It was bad, but so far we have fared well. We hunkered down and spent the day watching movies the best we could while we had internet and napping or reading when we didn’t. We waited all day for the power to go out but, thankfully, we were among the lucky ones and it never did.

A few hours ago the chaos outside finally calmed. We watched the news anxiously all afternoon hoping to see that we would get another snow day tomorrow, but it wasn’t until I had just given up and resigned myself to having to venture out and dig a path to the car that they announced it. Tomorrow has been canceled once again. 

Maybe I’ll try to get more writing done this time.



These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren

071 // Tomorrow Has Been Canceled

It was 60 degrees outside today. The sun was shining and with the time change it finally felt like Spring was on the way, and then the weather reports for tomorrow poured in and hour by hour it got worse and worse. Today was Spring, and tomorrow the schools are already closed for a snow day. 

The whole city is shutting down, and many more across the state too. Tomorrow has been canceled so I’ll be staying in again, which means I’m staying up tonight, because, well, I don’t want to waste a second of this gift.

I’ll watch the storm roll in. I’m waiting for the rain now so I can fall asleep with the sound against my window. Tomorrow I’ll set up near the big living room window and count the inches as they accumulate.

I learned today that the lower the pressure of a storm, the stronger the storm is, and we will see some of the lowest pressure readings in the state’s history. A rare treat it seems. The storm will be “roughly equivalent to a Category 2 hurricane” only with snow instead of rain.

I’m actually a little scared, but kind of excited too, and very relieved that I’ll get to ride it out from inside.


These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren

029 // Tonight, I’m a Mess

I can’t believe we’re not even halfway through the week yet, and this godforsaken month seems determined not to end. Why don’t the weeks of April through October ever feel this long? I suppose times slows to a crawl when you’re miserable.

I spent most of the day dealing with medical professionals, staff, and drug companies. There was good news, or, rather, there was information which did help put my mind at ease. But, moving forward with new treatment means a battery of new tests and appointments and it also means more anxiety. I’m trying my best here but it’s hard.

So, tonight I came home, claimed a corner of the couch as my own, wrapped myself in my comfiest blanket, and let my girlfriend know that is where she could find me for the rest of the night. Tomorrow I’ll be strong again, but tonight I’m a mess, and that’s okay.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

028 // Beginning with Emily Dickinson

Another snow storm rolled in today and this time we got far more than the local meteorologists were predicting. Visibility was low and the temperatures were frigid. The road conditions were treacherous and traffic locked up all over the city. We all should have stayed home but the worst of it rolled in after it was already too late to call it a snow day.

My bones still ache and I’m entirely worn out for no reason except that the air was cold and I —having been forced to go out in it—had to work harder just to stay warm. I hate the layers I have to wear, and the clunky shoes, and the slow stupid way I have to walk to keep from busting my ass on the ice.

I’m tired, I’m angry, and I’m outraged I have to do it all again tomorrow.


It wasn’t all bad. I did finish reading The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery (my sixth book of the year already!) this morning. It was an incredible book but not quite what I had expected it would be.

(I have to start writing this year’s book reviews before I get too far behind)

Luckily, I remembered to bring The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson to work knowing how close I was to finishing The Soul of an Octopus. So far it’s been a…challengeing read. I thought Dickinson would easy since the poems are so short. Wrong!

I could spend days analyzing just one of her poems. I only got through 10 of them today but they were so beautiful that I don’t mind at all. Looks like I’ll be spending a good long while with Ms. Dickinson. So much so that I may have to change my reading schedule to accommodate the research I want to do and the notes I want to take in the book.

I’m also going to start reading a second book to keep from falling behind on my reading challenge. I haven’t decided which one yet but I’m thinking something short and easy. Candide by Voltaire perhaps? Recommendations welcome.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

018//365

It’s finally here, the weekend, a nice long three-day one too.

No one expected it to snow as much as it did today and we didn’t expect it to melt away this fast either. I normally loathe to be out in the snow, but today I was relieved to see it. It’s been a very dry winter here and what little snow we’ve had has been more like what we see in March or April. I keep thinking it’s climate change and I worry about the heat and the water levels come summer.

We went home for lunch together in the snow, a rare treat. I miss the days when we both had hours and hours off between shifts and we’d have time to nap. I miss most those long hours at home, in the summer.

Everything about us has always been better in the summer. Today, as we got home I felt great mourning for warm nights on restaurant patios drinking white wine and eating oysters together. I realized that in the winter we go out for events, but in the summer we go out for the air and the night alone. I miss the night. I miss the warmth.

I miss us in the summer.


These entries are inspired by the journal posts of Thord D. Hedengren

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