Archives for the month of: April, 2023

The world is often a crazy, chaotic, terrifying place, it seems. Sometimes the sorrows and frustrations outnumber the fleeting moments of happiness… maybe… mostly? It can sure seem that way. This journey called life is strange and sometimes strained by the challenges of our circumstances, or just the very human nature of our very human selves. It isn’t often an “easy” experience, at all. This morning, though? I am sipping my coffee, smiling, and thinking about love. Not “I love my coffee” love. Not “I love my job” love. Not even “I love my family and my friends” love. I am thinking about that heartfelt, gut-churning, butterflies-in-my-stomach launching, sweating, mind-altering, mood-enhancing, exciting, exotic, mundane, routine, spectacular romantic love that (if we’re fortunate) we may have the opportunity to enjoy at some point in our adult lifetime. If we’re particularly self-aware, and very skilled with our judgement of character, we may even recognize it while it is happening. 😀 A rare few may enjoy it more than once in their lifetime.

“Life Sparkles (with the love we feel)” 11″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas w/glow and glitter 2018

…I’m sipping my coffee thinking about love. The love I share with my Traveling Partner (on life’s journey). This is an amazing relationship. No, we’re not perfect people. We fuss at each other now and then. Having met each other later in our adult lives, we sometimes forget that the other has lived an entire life before the point at which we met, bringing skills, memories, and anecdotes of times we did not share to this relationship. I feel fortunate that we were friends before we were lovers. Lovers (and flat mates) before we married. This is a relationship built on a firm foundation, based on shared values and shared goals, but also on affectionate respect and consideration for each other’s individual qualities that make us so different. Why go on about it? Because it’s out there. There is love aplenty in the world. There are verbs involved… No doubt results will vary.

“Communion” 24″ x 36″ acrylic on canvas w/ceramic details 2010

I’m counting down the days, now. 4 days, as it happens. In 4 days we celebrate our 12 anniversary married. 4382 days married. Worth celebrating. 12 years of fairly steady forward momentum on this journey together. My Traveling Partner is truly a partner worthy of spending a lifetime with; he lifts me up, he challenges my expectations, he encourages (and demands) my best, he demonstrates his enduring love for me every day, he sparks a fire in my heart that burns bright. Sometimes he frustrates me. That doesn’t limit my affection for him. Sometimes he tests my patience. That doesn’t diminish my love. We’re very human. We love in a very human way – that just makes sense. 🙂

Be love. It’s a choice. Love is a verb.

It’s nice to sit and sip my coffee thinking about love. To sit and ask the question “is this where I want to be?” and “is this love good for me?” and know with effortless certainty that I am, and it is. I hope he feels our love with similar confidence. I fucking love that guy. 😀

Sharing the love, and sharing the building.

No idea what the weekend holds; we’ve changed our plans a couple times already. All that matters, really, is to enjoy it together. 🙂

I am sipping flavored water this morning. I had my coffee on the commute into the office. It’s a Monday, and these days I rarely go into the office on a Monday, but I woke to a reminder from the VA about an appointment today that I had managed to memorize correctly for the date, but somehow thought that would be on Wednesday. It is not. It is today. LOL So I quickly adjusted my intentions, and hit the road for the morning commute. I expected it would be tedious… but… apparently I’m not alone in not going into an office on Mondays; there was almost no traffic at all.

I am thinking about the weekend, and the time spent planning future getaways with my Traveling Partner. The truck has us both fired up and eager to explore corners of favorite places and new destinations previously unreachable in his sedan, or in my Mazda. We have hours long conversations about camp kitchens, roof-top tents, jet-boil stoves vs all the other sorts, the necessity or luxury of taking a portable toilet, and does it make sense to have a solar generator and a fridge, or is that just ridiculous? There are so many options to choose from, so many approaches to overlanding, camping, hiking, from the gear to the routes to take, to the destinations near and far that we might want to see. It’s a pleasant way to pass time together, talking about the options and our choices, and whether we can tackle them now, or whether they go on a list for future purchases – or is there some other way we can do that thing in a less costly more personalized way, using our skills, time, and materials on hand? I’m getting to know a whole new side of my Traveling Partner – it’s very exciting.

I spent much of my weekend in the garden. Planting alyssum for future mounds of fragrant ground-covering flowers. Putting up a trellis for the peas. “Encouraging” the blueberries and the roses with oohs and aahs of delight that they are doing so well, already. Checking to see if the neighbor’s cat is staying out of the vegetables now that I’ve put that cat-deterring spikey-matt down here and there. Weeding out dandelions from the flower beds and the small bit of lawn we’ve got. (So many dandelions!) It was a lovely weekend. Time well-spent.

The real point here isn’t that I had a great weekend spent in excellent company. The point is that I had choices. A lot of choices. I chose to enjoy the weekend in spite of the pain I was in on Friday evening, and much of Saturday. I chose to go hither and thither with my Traveling Partner for occasional errands (I could have stayed home). I chose to garden. Together we chose to put time into figuring out what we really want of our leisure time – and how we can make that happen most easily. Oh, for sure, sometimes I let myself bob around like a cork on the ocean, and circumstances or the whims of my partner made the decisions for me… nonetheless, even taking that approach is making a choice. There is so much that is truly within our control through our power to choose. 🙂

I think I’m saying “don’t choose to be miserable then wonder why you are miserable; choose differently if you want a different experience”. Misery is sometimes kind of an “easy way out”, isn’t it? There are verbs involved in escaping misery. Results will vary. We become what we practice, though… so… keeping practicing? Choose something different? Begin again?

Choices are not always “simple” or “easy”. Outcomes are not guaranteed. We do have an astonishing number of choices, though…

I guess I’ll begin again. 😀

I am thinking about journeys, and maps, and preparedness, and how different life feels at each different “stop along the way”. Just a few more days – mid-June – and I’ll be on the other side of 60. Wild. At 25 I wasn’t even certain I’d see 30, with any confidence. I can’t honestly say that I’ve been a skillful or well-prepared traveler in life, either. I sort of stumbled on down the path wherever it led, and I’m fortunate to be where I now stand. (Well… actually, where I sit, as in this moment right now, I’m sitting at my computer with a lovely hot cup of tea, after a day in the garden.)

I’m enjoying this cup of tea, feeling my muscles a bit stiff and achy after the gardening. Lots of stooping, kneeling, leaning, and of course, occasionally standing back up. lol It was a good day of gardening, and I’m pleased with the results; peas and beans planted, the neighbor’s cat (hopefully) quite discouraged from my vegetable bed, a wire trellis added for the peas to climb, and some new herb plants tucked in here and there in the flower beds among the roses (some French tarragon, lemon thyme, and a curry plant). It has been quite a lovely day.

One sunny corner in my garden.

I love the garden as a metaphor for life. Is it perfect? Nope. I sure don’t have either that kind of money or that kind of time. I work on things over the seasons, adding something new, making some little change or improvement, enjoying what I’ve done, and starting all over again each Spring. Eventually, I know the primroses will fill in that corner they occupy, though they haven’t yet. I know the lupines will bloom sturdy and bold, in their own good time – they’re still quite young and are still developing strong roots. I know that eventually, the neighbor’s cat and I will achieve some sort of acceptable understanding of our mutual boundaries. Next year, the blueberries may have fruit, but I know they won’t this year. Still, season after season, year after year, I make improvements, and I enjoy the results. I make a point of spending more time appreciating what worked out nicely, and the veggies that ripened to maturity and yielded good harvests. I don’t spend much time thinking about the entire row of gorgeous seedlings that damned cat dug up, or the unexpected freeze that killed an entire crop I planted too early. I take note of the things that went wrong. I’m observant of the things I failed at. I just don’t get mired in those details or spend much time dwelling on those. It suits me to spend more time on the delights of the garden, and my great joy to be there.

…Life also seems to benefit from that approach; I let myself soak in the joys and celebrate the small wins. I face my failures with measured calm, and an observer’s gaze, without getting stuck there. I mean, that’s the goal. 😀 I’m still ever so human. lol

I saw a small brown bunny today, nibbling my neighbor’s lawn while I worked. I enjoyed a chocolate donut in the passenger’s seat of my Traveling Partner’s new truck, as we headed home from running errands together. I breathed fresh morning air, and enjoyed afternoon sunshine. It’s been a thoroughly lovely day – it doesn’t need anything more to complete it. It is… enough.

I sigh, and sip my tea. It’s warming and quite nice, smelling of pine and forests. I feel chilly; it’s just fatigue. I contemplate a hot shower – that would feel pleasantly warming, too. Sometimes the simplest things are quite enough.

My Traveling Partner and I have been enjoying happy hours discussing camping trips and discussing the gear we have, the gear we need. The truck is a lovely addition to future adventuring, no doubt, and we found ourselves short a few things to camp together or go overlanding. Almost all my gear is specifically selected for solo camping, and intended to allow me to travel light while also ensuring I can get a good night’s rest, enjoy a cup of coffee, and apply first aid to a blistered foot if needed. Together? Hmm… we’re more about the glamping and the really getting away, you know? LOL There are new trailheads waiting! Another useful metaphor for living; traveling. Solo or in the company of a friend, traveling benefits from a bit of planning, and from being prepared. There’s value in bringing a map…but… sometimes, we really do have to blaze our own trail, and become our own cartographer. (I know, I know… helpful to have an emergency beacon, GPS, a trail app… it’s the 21st century, and we have so many more options in life – and in metaphors. 😉 )

…I find myself thinking back on a wonderful camping trip I once took with a dear friend. I don’t recall quite where we went, only how lovely it was. I took a wonderful walk, though I wasn’t really certain what to “do with myself” – I was too recently returned from deployment, too recently discharged back into civilian life… I did not know how to camp recreationally. LOL I kept trying to find something to do… kept an eye on the horizon, listening for certain sorts of noises… hilarious looking back on it. I also made some sketches, wrote some poetry, read awhile… It was a good time, and I’m glad I have it to look back on. I sure wish I could remember where that was…

A nice way to coast into the evening. I smile, finish my tea, and think about love. It’s time to begin again. There are adventures yet to have, and my birthday is so close! 😀

I am sipping coffee, sitting quietly, and watching day break slowly. It’s a work day. I haven’t yet started it. These minutes, this hour, is mine. I’m alone here in the co-work space, and savoring these quiet solitary minutes. I need so much more of this than I generally get.

How is it already “almost May”?? My Traveling Partner and I celebrate 12 years married in a few days. 13 years as lovers, and a bit more than that as close friends. A lot more as colleagues, and genial associates of one sort or another. I often have the peculiar sense that this human being I so adore has “always” been part of my life in some way – that’s not at all the case. I was already 35 before we ever met for the first time, and it was some years later that we reconnected. Where has the time gone?? Seems shorter than it is. Seems longer than it has been. LOL Funny how our perspective on time shifts with what we’re thinking about or experiencing.

There is so much good in this life. So much to appreciate, to be grateful for, to savor and to cherish, and yes, to share. I am smiling and thinking about life and love, and how lucky I am to share it with my Traveling Partner.

The truck in the driveway makes me smile every morning, now. He loves that truck. I love seeing him enjoy it so thoroughly. 😀 We delight in making plans to get out off the streets and highways of the day-to-day, to see other places, picnic, hike, camp… feels like an exciting new adventure together, and I am enjoying that thoroughly. He has his shop and his video games. I’ve got my garden and my studio. We share conversation and video content, and hang out pretty much all the time that we aren’t definitely apart… but our interests don’t have much crossover that we don’t explicitly make a point to make time and attention for. This feels different – this feels like an “us” thing. I’ve done some overlanding… with the military. (Not the same at all.) I didn’t even know it was an interest of his – until we got the truck. lol I’m ready for it!

Where does this road lead?

…Well…I’m ready for it heart and soul, but… it’s early in the season, yet, and quite chilly. LOL I’m eager for warmer days. 😀

I grin at myself, finishing my cold coffee. I must love that man; even in these quiet solo minutes I treasure so much, he’s in my thoughts, and my heart is filled with love. Funny how love works. I sit a few minutes longer. Quiet. Contented. Calm. Feels good.

I’m ready to begin again. 😀

It’s a good morning to sip coffee and just be here. It’s a pleasant moment. Funny enough, if it were an unpleasant moment, it would probably still be a potentially good moment to simply be… maybe just not right in that spot. lol Embracing authenticity, and also seeking to be the best version of myself I am able to be, tends to “make life easier”, if only by reducing the amount of bullshit I’m attempting to support, manage, dispense, or accept. Trying to “manage” every micro-expression to ensure I’m always “wearing the right face” is exhausting. Why do that? Just breathe, and be. Not an excuse to be a jackass; don’t do that. Be your most worthy self moment-to-moment. Make your best decisions – or be wise enough to set some decisions aside for a time when you can make them with a clear head. Be kind, honest, frank – and withhold unkind or harsh words for a time when you can find the words to communicate your point without being cruel or adversarial. Things like that really matter.

…I know it’s a lot to ask of a simple, mortal, human primate. We’re complicated and we almost seem to relish doing stupid shit and getting things entirely wrong. For example, we broadly proclaim the explicit value of reason, but truly we lead with our emotions pretty reliably. One might expect that, knowing we are such emotional creatures, we would also be of very high “emotional intelligence” and would put quite a lot of developmental time educationally into learning about emotions, how they work, the biochemistry of our emotions, the differences between “feelings” and “sensations”, the differences between feeling and thinking, and how best to express our emotions skillfully… but no; we prefer to bumble about in ignorance for some reason. It’s as if we think that by ignoring emotions we can escape them. lol (Doesn’t work that way.)

How much fucking trauma does humanity inflict upon itself over the lack of understanding of our fucking emotions, and lack of skill communicating or managing them? (Like, a whole lot – it was a rhetorical question.)

The news is mostly bad. The war drags on in Ukraine. Americans continue to slaughter children with guns. Wealth and privilege still insulate some people from the consequences of their actions. People still take sides in arguments of false dichotomies. Scammers continue to take what they can from anyone they can deceive. For-profit medicine continues to fail those who can’t afford to pay. For-profit education continues to take money out of the pockets of people who can ill-afford to waste it on empty promises of future success. Humans being human. We could do so much better – for ourselves, for each other, for the world.

Don’t mind me. I’m not even feeling gloomy this morning. Just sitting here sipping coffee fairly contentedly. Happy that I’m not sitting in an office in the city every day, killing time between two arbitrary points on the clock, hoping my car isn’t broken into while it’s parked, and hoping that I don’t get mugged or shot or stabbed on my way to my car at the end of the day. It all sounds much gloomier than I mean it to.

…Maybe it’s the gray, chilly morning coloring my thoughts…

I’m one human being, doing (mostly) my best to be the woman I most want to be. I’m good with it. Some days I’m a better version of myself than others. When I fall short of my own expectations of who I am – or could be – I at least know I can give it another go, some other time. I can “begin again” – with the experience of my most recent failures to grow from. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s something.

…Do new things, grow from those experiences, keep “becoming”…

This past weekend, my Traveling Partner and I went out for a drive in his truck. We had spent exciting hours exploring videos of off-roading and overland adventuring (in vehicles) and were pretty eager to take the truck out beyond the paved city streets. It was fun. We even got out into the wilds enough to reach snow, and to face a (brief, momentary) concern that just perhaps we may have “gone too far”. lol It was fun. The campgrounds we passed on the BLM land were still closed for the season, but we spotted some lovely places to get away that are actually quite near to home, though they felt very remote. What a fun adventure. I’m still thinking about it quite happily.

I look at the time and realize it’s already time to begin again… 😀