The frown finally lifted. My jaw finally unclenched. My sheer-force-of-will pleasantness in meetings eventually resolved to simply being pleasant. I let go of being angry, in favor of feeling angry, which eventually let me look beyond my angry feelings to my hurt feelings, and then eventually to just letting shit go. Now? I guess I’m “quietly over it”, and it’s enough. Ideally, small things stay small. It’s not always easy to see that through from intention to outcome. It takes practice.

Neither societies nor relationships are (ever) “perfect”, not really; both are made up of human beings who are themselves entirely “human” in all the error-prone meanings of that word, and compounded by the very (very) subjective nature of our individual experiences. Hell, it’s not even a given that we’re all “doing our best” – or that any one of us is capable of a personal best of sufficient real-world value in any objective way. It’s an inefficient system, at best.

Work keeps me occupied. I pause for a break and reconnect with my Traveling Partner. The gray skies beyond my window seem to reflect back our own individual moodiness, today. Suitable backdrop. I think we’re past it, though, with “clearer skies”, though not exactly “sunny”. Metaphorically, I’m hoping for sunny skies (and sunny days) ahead. Funny thing though; the metaphor of climate and weather with regard to emotions and relationships breaks down a bit if pushed too far – we don’t control the actual weather, but do have substantial control over our emotional “weather”. Oh, for sure, not 100% of the control we might like to have, sometimes, and sometimes what we most want to control of the emotional weather isn’t ours to decide at all. Communication takes effort. Listening is work. Kindness requires practice – even for people in love with each other. “Being angry” is easier than taking the time and care to really process feelings of anger with real consideration, self-compassion, and without adding drama to someone else’s experience. It’s hard. It’s worth practicing, and improving over time. It’s worth failing at it and learning from that, and continuing to practice. Incremental change over time is slow – and it’s hard as hell to make the same room for someone else to fail and grow, as it is to do that for myself.

It’s a pleasant afternoon. My partner brings me a small serving of gelato. I take a break to enjoy that, and review what I’ve gotten done today, and what I’ve got coming up tomorrow. There’s so much to get done before the year ends – and it’s already time to begin again. 🙂

It’s 3 a.m.

I woke unexpectedly. Like… fully awake. Even “rested”. Mind restless. I wander around the hotel room aimlessly for some minutes. Drink some water. Use the restroom. I finally just put on jeans and a sweater, my coat, and went outside into the fresh air for a few minutes.

The night air was mild. The city sleeping around me is quiet. There was a sea breeze carrying a hint of nearby ocean along with it. The sound of the wind pushing between the buildings overcomes my tinnitus for awhile. I stand in the twilight of street lights in the wee hours, alone. I enjoy the quiet. I enjoy the breeze.

For a moment, I am not in any pain at all. I stand quietly enjoying the moment without asking it any questions.

Back in the room, some minutes later, I open a fresh bottle of water, cold from the refrigerator, and take an antacid. Now, here I find myself, at 3 a.m., sipping water in the glow of the laptop screen, writing about a sleepless moment in the wee hours, alone in a strange city. It’s not any sort of remarkable moment, either. I’m just… here. Awake at 3 a.m.

My alarm is set for 5 a.m. with a busy work day planned ahead of me. I could stay awake. I could return to sleep. It doesn’t matter too much which I choose to do, really. If I don’t – or can’t – sleep, it’s not a big deal; I feel relatively well-rested as things are now. If I can – and do – return to sleep, it’ll be nice to get a bit more rest; these long work days take a lot out of me.

I sit quietly a few minutes. No agenda. No stress. Stalled for a moment, without stress, just sitting quietly. I sit. I breathe. Slowly I begin to feel the soft edges of sleepiness begin to wrap my consciousness in a foggy blanket.

The dishes are cleaned up. The left-overs are put away. The Thanksgiving holiday is behind me. I woke from a sound sleep to the recollection of a tender kiss from my partner shortly after he woke, and a dream that Brian Cox had sought our help “moving the planets around” – so we could more easily study those currently so very far away, but pulling them closer. LOL

Dreamscapes are so interesting. I expect to find details from recent experiences, and it is interesting to see a physicist whose content I have not viewed recently turn up – most particularly since I don’t spend any notable portion of my life involved with physics!! I just watch a few videos, now and then, on a variety of physics topics, out of basic human curiosity. I listen to rain falling beyond the windows… but the windows, in this case, are not mine. Another video. A video of rain falling beyond the windows of a cozy library.

…What is my reality made of, exactly? Where does “real” begin – and end? Is that a question for physics… or philosophy… or neuroscience? I have questions. 🙂

Yesterday was an amazing intimate little holiday for two. It was lovely. I spent much of the day on the meal, and did what I could to make it as traditional – and as lavish – as Thanksgivings I remember from childhood. My Traveling Partner set the menu. I chose the recipes and did the cooking. By the end of a long day in the kitchen, I found myself equally grateful for the freedom to enjoy such an undertaking, and also the freedom from having to undertake such an effort day after day after day, as so many of my female forebears had to have done for their families every single day. Fucking hell, what a massive undertaking. Yep. Super grateful for the modern conveniences that allow me (and soooo many others) to leave the fucking kitchen!!

…G’damn that was a good dinner, though…

I’m human. I’m not a chef or professional cook – never have been. I “learned to cook” mostly through trial and error, with some “helpful” reinforcement in the form of being yelled at (first marriage). My cooking is thoroughly average. I do a few things really well – and most everything else requires a recipe, and considerable care. I do a few things pretty dreadfully – and those I just frankly avoid. LOL This year, Thanksgiving was quite wonderful, partly because there really just wasn’t any pressure or stress. Two people at home, dinner would be happening regardless, and all the shopping was already done. I ended the cooking feeling pretty proud of myself; everything came to the table at the proper temperature, at the same time. My Traveling Partner carved the turkey breast. We enjoyed a genial festive meal together, and the glow of being well-fed, and well-loved, afterward. I no longer recall what small detail or another may have been less than entirely “perfect” – from this vantage point, it was all quite splendid. I’m grateful for that, too.

…Leftovers for days…

Monday seems far away. I’m also thankful for that. It’s nice to have the long weekend to enjoy. Later today, after my coffee, after a shower, maybe after a walk (if the rain slows down)(it actually is raining here, too, not just in the video I’ve got on), I’ll get started on the holiday decor. It’s time to get the tree up, the wreath onto the door, and the mantlepiece decorated. 😀

…How the hell is it already almost Giftmas??

Sipping coffee, feeling thankful. I hope this feeling lasts the entire year. 🙂

I’m having a moment. It lives here, in this piece of music.

I listen. I put everything else on hold for a moment or two, just to sit with the feelings and recollections of times past, and lost loved ones.

I listen again. I ignore the tears, but hear the words. Each moment we have is so… finite. We are mortal creatures. I sit quietly listening to the music, to the words, thinking about the world. What else is there to say…

…Hug someone you love. Say something nice to someone. Reach out to an old friend… What could possibly matter more than our relationships?

…There’s only so much time.

I’m annoyed over my morning coffee. It’s not something major, and a “more reasonable” person might not have reacted to this small detail the way I have. I’m working on letting it go. Anger “goes bad” – becomes toxic, generates problematic outcomes, that sort of thing – super easily, compared to so many other emotions. (I take a sip of my rather ordinary cup of coffee, and wonder briefly why that is.)

This morning I’m irritated – well, I guess that’s a step down from being angry, so… progress? It’s at least a start. A beginning. Another one. (Another sip of coffee, too.)

My Traveling Partner opens the door to the studio – and to reconnecting – and apologizes crossly for being cross with me. He makes a point to describe his experience to me. He makes a point to affirm his love, too. I make a point to listen. I make a point to demonstrate that I hear him and understand. Clear communication doesn’t feel particularly “easy” or “natural” this morning. I still feel fussy and irritable, rocked off my contented center by a moment of unexpected irritation first thing in the morning. We both do the things it takes to check in with each other, hear each other, and support each other. The verbs matter.

…I continue to reflect and sip my coffee…

I sat down to write, aware of my anger, aware of my frustration and irritability, and also aware of my affection for my partner. I sat down grateful, too; gratitude is my “go to” emotion-of-choice for a quick reset when my temper flares up. It’s super hard to be both angry and also grateful, in the same emotional moment. 🙂 With Thanksgiving being tomorrow, the timing is good for gratitude.

Wait…wait… what? What about… pilgrims? What about the heinous land grab that is our nation’s “original sin”? “Thanksgiving”??? Yes. Thanksgiving, which is to say a holiday on which I sit down to give thanks with those dear to me (I mean, yeah, when there’s no pandemic). I don’t place a positive personal (or historical) value on the celebration of Thanksgiving as some kind of glorification of genocide, at all. I do like the idea of a harvest-season feast day with gratitude as the theme, though. On its own, that’s a beautiful notion. It’s a lovely start to the winter holiday season. I celebrate that. I also acknowledge (and respect) the National Day of Mourning that also occurs on this date. There are for sure no pilgrims sitting down at my table. Genocide is a terrible violation of culture, and waste of human potential.

Anyway. Yeah, I do find that gratitude beats anger – every time. I’m grateful for so much this year. I feel fortunate. Good quality clean drinking water flows from indoor taps. The house is cozy and warm – and ours. The pantry is stocked and there’ll be no need to leave the house for shopping, tomorrow. I’m wearing comfortable clothing, appropriate for the conditions – and I had choices for what to wear this morning. The heat kicks on, and the soft sound of the fan blowing reminds me yet again, how fortunate I am. Comfortable bed…clean linens…a safe, secure place to live. Stable employment. I’m fortunate indeed.

I sip my coffee and think contented grateful thoughts – no anger to be found anywhere. Season’s greetings, y’all. Happy Thanksgiving. Here’s hoping you have much to be grateful for, and very little to be angry about. I take a calm breathe, and prepare to begin again.