Archives for posts with tag: taking care of me

Warning: this article has no point. No proper theme. No clear metaphor. You have been warned.

I woke early this morning, although it felt like sleeping in; it’s a Monday holiday, and I’ve got the day off. My Traveling Partner slept in. I did some yoga. Enjoyed a hot shower, and a first cup of coffee while I looked over new seed catalogues. Quiet morning. I think about a second coffee. I think about a walk in a foggy Pacific Northwest forest. I think about pancakes I intend to make later. Walk first? Seems the correct order of operations, or pace, for a holiday Monday. Leisurely. No pressure. Some housekeeping later? Sure. There are things to do that need to be done.

I think about the parts that make up a entire lived life. I think about ages, in years and in time frames. I think about “work” and “life”. I think about passions – for things, for people, for experiences, and for those random affections and fondnesses for this or that, that become attachments to “who we are”. “Time at work” is part of this lived experience of mine. “Time in the studio” feels more “important” emotionally… clearly, in practical terms, it is less important if I define that time by what it brings to the finances. Subjectively, I experience a sense that I “don’t spend enough time in the studio, creatively”, while also routinely down-playing my desire to be there for “practical reasons” or because something else “seems more important”. There are other ways I fondly use my time to invest in personal joy and moments of heartfelt delight. I think of time spent on love and loving. Time in the garden. Time spent reading… walking… hanging out with my partner… Time spent in the kitchen.

I sip this glass of water I am drinking between coffees. I think about the ways I spend time. I think over which of them I enjoy. What do I spend time on that I merely endure? Where is the greater value? Where is the necessity? Grimly, my brain tosses in a random remark about the inevitable heat death of the universe for fun. I mentally roll my eyes at myself.

Unfinished thoughts.

I think about posts I started to write, then never finished. Or… never actually wrote, at all. I wonder whether I’ll ever resurrect any of them, start or finish them? If I did, would there be any chance at all that they would be what I might have written when the thought first struck me? How would they have morphed and changed in my thinking over the course of some measure of time of this lived experience? What was I even thinking?

My smiling partner breaks in on my thoughts; a welcome diversion, this morning. This? Here? Not really “going anywhere”. I’m okay with that. It’s time for a second coffee – and a good time to begin again. 😀

We’ve all got a story (or stories) to tell, haven’t we? (It’s a rhetorical question. We do.) So often, it also feels as if “no one is listening” – even if they just fucking asked for a bedtime story. LOL Being human sometimes seems needlessly complicated.

My Traveling Partner stopped into the studio with chocolates and a smile. I’d just finished with a phone call he’d earlier expressed interest about, wanting to know the outcome. So… okay… I start to share, but the timing is a poor fit – he’s livestreaming, and needs to get back to that rather promptly. I’m invited to come along to where he’s sitting, to share any relevant (to his experience) information. Cool. Awesome – I do that. Only… I’ve misread the moment and begin to go down the path of “sharing my story”, instead of simply “answering his question”. Those are rather different things, in any conversation. 🙂 I get it wrong a lot, and I work on it often. Story-telling is about a carefully crafted narrative with a “larger purpose” (sometimes educational, sometimes entertainment, sometimes something else) than just answering a simple question. Stories have meaning and context and plot and are about more than one question, one answer. He sets a clear boundary in the moment; he’s not available for a story right then, and recognizing that is already a win for me. 🙂 I answer the simple question and walk away, and although I still needed to deal with my momentary hurt feelings (no one likes rejection, and being shut down pretty much reliably feels like rejection, regardless of the intent), the interaction felt like a “win”, generally.

I get over my emotional moment pretty quickly. Realistically, his idea of an interesting story and mine are quite different, anyway, and I too-often overwhelm him with narrative details that are neither useful nor actually interesting to him. Better communication skills are still something I work on – a lot. Every bit of progress I make is useful in all my relationships (personal or professional).

I turn my head left, to my other monitor. Another sort of “carefully crafted narrative” is unfolding there, and I watch the video as it does. The work day is already over. I think about the afternoon ahead. Other moments. Other stories to tell. More opportunities to practice skillful communication, and more chances to be the person I most want to be. It’s a journey. I take a moment to think about the many miles I’ve walked on many trails… and the stories I could tell. They don’t all need telling. They don’t all have an audience, if they do. 🙂 Figuring out the difference is one more thing to practice.

I “slept in” – for some values of that expression – and woke to a rainy rather mild winter morning. I made a point to go to the store one last time, yesterday, hoping to enjoy the entire holiday weekend at home without venturing into retail spaces at all. I made this excellent coffee which I continue to sip on, now. There is holiday music playing in the background, with a warm, cozy holiday café scene as a backdrop on my monitor. No children live in our home – I’ve still got NORAD’s “Santa Tracker” up, where I can see that famous fat man in red flying around the globe in a sleigh pulled by reindeer (somehow, it still “makes sense” to me that this is even a thing! lol). Giftmas at home.

So merry

…Giftmas. At home. So many moments lead to this one, now, and I feel content, merry, and wrapped in love. My Traveling Partner woke around the time I did. It’s a lovely morning. So far, every detail of the holiday is just delightful, and seems lavish and rich in keeping with childhood expectations of the season, without actually being costly, or built on unaffordable excess. It’s just… pleasant. We took a modest approach to the holidays this year to focus more on longer-term goals. You know that pandemic thing? Yeah, that’s still going on, too – so the thing we’d likely both like most to do more of, which would be socializing in various settings, maybe having a holiday dinner or a party, these are all things that are pretty much not on the menu for us. We’re still masking any time we go out (or answer the door), and practicing fairly strict social distancing – we’re definitely not ready to invite a mob of friends over to party. Not yet. Hell, we haven’t even had a housewarming party yet, or had my partner’s brother over (who lives rather close, a couple towns up the road).

…As content as I am to spend time alone, or with only my partner for company, I am also “feeling the pandemic” as it wears on, month after month. Funny how much life we’ve lived in spite of that, and how much we’ve gotten done. lol I miss friends, though. I take a minute imagining how much harder it may be on my partner, who is much more social. He’s pretty much stuck with “just me” for company day-to-day. I doubt that he finds that boring – but it probably gets super annoying, sometimes. Maybe lonely, too.

Holidays aren’t always so easy as this one. I feel fortunate, and grateful. I think about other Giftmases, some long past, some even quite horrible, others so magical as to become defining moments in how I celebrate the season, even to this day.

When I was a kid, I didn’t really “get” how much actual work my parents both put into making Christmases magical for us. I mean it was pretty hardcore stuff that I only learned later; late nights into the wee hours assembling various “some assembly required” items – like my first bicycle, one year. Mornings no doubt came far too early for them, with eager kids waking nearer to 5 a.m. than to sunrise. When we were little, even the tree itself was part of the magic; it sat in a bucket of water for a handful of days, on the porch, and I truly believed then that it was part of Santa’s work to put up the tree, and decorate it – because for a couple years (at least) that’s how it all went down; no tree when we went to bed, and a world transformed on Christmas morning. Wow. The wonder still saturates my memories. That is some difficult shit to live up to! LOL It’s no wonder my Mom’s first thought on Christmas morning was coffee.

One year, Santa deviated from his usual routine. I must have been around… 9? (Sisters at 6 and at 3 years then.) I woke early on Christmas morning – super early – and there was… something heavy on my legs. I quietly turned on my light and discovered my Christmas stocking was there, at the foot of my bed! OMG OMG! Santa had come!! I went to my parent’s bedroom and tried to wake my Dad and tell him… he woke only enough, and only long enough, to tell me to “go back to bed for a little while” and that I could open my stocking quietly, and enjoy that. “Santa must have known your Mom and I want to sleep in a bit.” (“Sleep in” my ass; they’d probably just barely dropped off to sleep at that point! LOL) So, I did go back to my bed, and crawled back into the warm blankets. I started joyfully exploring the sweets and toys in my stocking as quietly as I could; it was stuffed almost to bursting. My sister woke minutes later, and came into my room (seeing the light under the door, probably) and excitedly told me about their stockings, on their beds, too. I passed on the encouragement to enjoy those, in bed. I think we were all still happily playing, nibbling chocolates, and enjoying our quiet holiday when my parents woke later (still properly early, but closer to something like 7 a.m.). It was splendid! It happened that way every year after. For me, it made stockings singularly important to the holiday in a whole new way.

Thanks for the magic, Mom & Dad. I haven’t forgotten.

Santa’s flying over Pakistan, apparently. This cup of coffee is almost gone. The rain continues to fall. Merry Giftmas. Here’s wishing you the happiest of holidays, however you choose to celebrate.

I slept deeply, living an alternate reality, rich, colorful, surreal, and woke to recollections of some other life. Some other self. I remember lights, and music, and abundance, holiday festivities. Giftmas dreams. I woke, also, to a visceral recollection of sitting forlorn and draggled at a rainy city bus stop during the holiday season, surrounded by holiday lights and late afternoon winter darkness – thinking thoughts, then, that had a striking resemblance to the dream I woke from, this morning, but from the perspective of yearning, rather than celebration. How very strange. Later, with this cup of coffee, I’m struck by the unlikely coincidence of seeing a thumbnail for a video (the one I linked just now, earlier in this paragraph) that very much looked like the scene I was remembering! Stranger, still, it looks very like the city I once lived in, too. Odd morning.

…”It’s a journey.” Life, by way of metaphor.

Dreams are only dreams. Progress is made through actions. There are verbs involved. Surely I could sit at a bus stop in the rain, crying over what is not, for endless hours – but doing so changes nothing. I’m just saying; misery may love company, but it also tends to be lazy as fuck. 😉 Choose a verb, choose your adventure, take a step on your path… there is no “too late” if you’ve another breath to take.

Wins and losses in life don’t have to become a punishing point system that nags or mocks you for your perceived failures. Let that bullshit go, if you can. Dream your dreams, choose your verbs, find your own way – one step, one beginning at a time. 🙂 Try to be kind to yourself along the way – there will always be plenty of other people around you ready to be discouraging assholes, or just plain mean or discourteous. 🙂 No reason to add to all of that.

‘Tis the season

I think about the day ahead. The year drawing to a close. Thanksgiving already over. The Winter Solstice, Giftmas, and New Year’s ahead. I sip my coffee and enjoy the sound of rain (on this video, that I’m not sitting in, wet, at a lonely bus stop, broke, and alone). I think about the things that went quite well this year, in spite of the pandemic. I think about things that continue to challenge me, as a human, seeking to be the woman I most want to be. I think about love, and my Traveling Partner, and the life we build together every day. I feel fortunate. I feel thankful. I take a breath, filling my lungs with air clean enough to breathe. I sip coffee made with clean filtered water, and locally roasted, sustainably-sourced (they say) coffee beans. Choices that became advantages. Advantages that represent privilege – and good fortune. I did not build my life alone with my own two hands “from the ground up”, myself. To say that I have feeds into the cultural lie that is the “bootstrap fallacy“. This has always been a shared journey, and I am wholly interdependent on lives around me, and the actions and choices of others. That’s just real. Yeah, the verbs are spread out; I can choose my own. None of us get where we are without help, good fortune, useful circumstances, and a sprinkling of coincidence, however “self-made” we’re inclined to make ourselves out to be.

The day ahead is not really a holiday. Just a day off. I took it easy all weekend after getting my seasonal flu shot and my Covid booster. Choices. Today I feel pretty good. A good day for housekeeping, tidying up before the next holiday. Maybe playing some video games, or getting a hike in, if the rain stops. Choices aplenty. Choices, followed by verbs; doesn’t matter what I may “decide” to do, if I don’t act on that decision. Seems obvious enough.

I made a lovely plum pudding for Giftmas; I remind myself to baste it with spirits, again today. Odd tangent – my Granny once invited me to make a Christmas Pudding with her from an old recipe she’d found in her grandmother’s handwriting, tucked into an old cookbook. I was visiting, (my last visit with her as it turned out) over a holiday season. I was moody and she was seeking to lift my spirits and help me regain perspective. I declined, rather flippantly saying something about making a plum pudding seeming the sort of thing I’d only want to do “once I had a proper home of my own”, somehow. She was pleasant about that rejection; she didn’t want to put in all the effort if I wasn’t also into it, and we quickly found other delightful ways to enjoy our time together. This year I remembered. So… this year I made that plum pudding (linked recipe is very traditional, also very large, and was not the recipe I used, myself, just looks like a good one). Rather hilariously, my Traveling Partner has zero interest – it just isn’t his sort of dessert. So, this one is for me. A memory, and a celebration. I do wish I actually had that original recipe in my great-great-grandmother’s handwriting, though… what a treasure that would be. 🙂

My coffee is finished. My cell phone has finished re-charging. The rain outside continues to fall. Seems a good time to begin again. 🙂

Here it is, another holiday season. 🙂 Still got this pandemic going on, although it’s clear that many folks are sort of just pretending that it doesn’t exist (which is frankly a bit terrifying, and the lack of basic consideration involved there is disheartening). “The world” seems a bit askew, but I’m not really certain that there is legitimately more (or potentially actually less) violence going on “out there” (none at all in here)… it definitely seems so. The news is filled with an alarming number of articles alerting us all of a huge assortment of violent events, from the very peculiar outbursts from adults on aircraft to truly heinous reprehensible acts of terror and gun violence in schools and on our streets. The long term solutions are complex – but achievable, if we were to bother with them as a society. The short term solution is easier; change the channel. Turn off the news. Log off of social media. Be here. Now. (This does assume that your “here” is safe and quiet and calm… which sometimes feels like a very privileged position to be in, these days. Yeah…. turn off the fucking news for awhile.)

I am sipping this tasty mocha I made for myself after running a quick errand. I’m feeling a bit run down and “off” – I had my seasonal flu shot and my Covid booster (both) yesterday. I’m not ill, just… feelin’ it. lol This mocha, though, is super tasty, and I’m delighted with it, as much because I made it for myself as for the taste of it. 🙂 Self-care feels pretty nice. What are you doing for you? So much effort, and heart, and time goes into these holidays – it’s important to take care of yourself. Life is an endurance race, not a sprint. 😀

I had an idea before I sat down here… thought I’d write about this or that, things that have been on my mind, vexing details of life, how to do this or that in a way that would be more productive, useful, or… something. Those ideas faded when I looked into my Traveling Partners eyes after arriving home, and feeling his embrace. lol I thought then, perhaps, that I would write about love in some way… it’s not always easy to love skillfully, and my own awareness of that halted me; what do I even know about that? I’m a student of love, still learning the basics. 🙂 I’m feeling more inspired to live and to love than to write about either – and I surely need practice at both. lol

I load my favorite playlist. I don’t sort it very often, and listening to it “takes me back in time” in an interesting way. Leave it on long enough (it’s many hours of music) and it rolls the clock back by years, through complicated times, through memories of life and love, the beats a steady reminder that time passes, and that our joys are fleeting – but they live on in our memories, when we allow it. It’s too easy to focus on the shit that has made us most miserable over the years, and too easy to forget all the good times. This particular playlist hints at the miseries now and then, but mostly it’s a merry romp through the good times, and a celebration of joy. I mean… if you like dance music, and videos. lol 😀 (Not all of these tracks are what I’d call “great art” – some of them are just “catchy tunes”, others are amazing works of video art supporting music that maybe isn’t so impressive, and others that it’s the music that gets my attention, and a few with no video at all, just happens that I found the track on YouTube.) Enjoy. Merry Giftmas in advance, and thank you for continuing to read my writing. 🙂 I’m glad you’re here.

My holiday earrings tinkle and jangle with the turn of my head, as my Traveling Partner walks by. G’damn, all these years and I still absolutely adore him. I tell myself that I’ll write more tomorrow, maybe… 🙂