Let me be clear from the start. I have zero creds to substantiate giving anyone good advice on how to fix their life. My life is fucked up. PERIOD.

With that said, I will you share with you the shitty, wonderful, crazy, hypocrisy that brings me to each Sunday. AND lord, the love hate relationship I have with Sunday probably deserves whole months of therapy dedicated to the subject. But as I can only meet with my therapist one hour every 5 weeks, I can’t afford to ruminate on why I have such a twisted relationship with Sunday. I have gathered the following.

I start out buying into its shitty seduction, its glossy thighs serenading me about the limitless pleasures that I will experience. Its tight abs glinting with the promise of clean floors, sparkling toilets, and folded laundry. Oh yes, this sphinx acts as if there will be homemade pastries and endless cups of coffee that won’t burn my stomach lining and increase my waist size yet one more inch this month. I am getting ahead of myself, though.

We should probably start with Monday.

I pushed STOP on my yoga alarm, PAUSE on my writing alarm, NO on my shower alarm, and stumbled out of bed only because I couldn’t reject Brush Your Teeth because I am deathly afraid of a Root Canal. I headed down stairs in a rush to get my coffee and right back up to my office. When I looked up it was Wednesday and I hadn’t gotten anything finished. I started a whole lot of things. I continued a ton of things but the only thing that was apparent was that my Priority List had become a Stephen King novel.

AND this was BEFORE the attempted coup on the Capitol of the United States that I missed because I was in a two hour zoom meeting. When I got out of the meeting all hell had broken loose and for me that’s a normal state of being so that didn’t much phase me as the phase I exist within is like the hands on the Doomsday Clock. Tick Tick Tock, when will everything explode?

According to the Bulletin of The Atomic Scientists as of January 23, 2020 it stated we were 100 seconds from Global Catastrophe. THAT WAS BEFORE THE PANDEMIC.

So, then. Back to Wednesday. There I was pretending that I was going to cross something off my work list with Breaking News and visuals of the TRAITORS on every news platform.

Forgive me but for a moment I was jealous. THEY WERE CROSSING SHIT OFF THEIR Fascist lists! Damn It.

  • Viking Helmet
  • Zip Ties
  • Confederate Flag
  • Pipe Bombs
  • Ammo
  • MAGA Hat
  • Fur Vest

Then the horror set in. They were storming our Capitol and people were getting hurt. (I warned you that I wasn’t the nicest of people. My first thought was of myself and the fact that their lists were getting completed and mine wasn’t).

I do not even remember what I made for dinner that night. Nor do I really remember the Remote Testing event that I hosted, Pandemic style, for our ESL Students the next day. I do remember their bravery in showing up for this event despite the terrible toll that Covid19 is taking in our Community.

Because, yes. Our county is bad. The numbers are high, we are in a lock down, and people here continue not to wear masks. They pack the stores and many restaurants are still serving in doors which is surreal because thousands of people are sick and many are dying. Our hospitals are besieged. Anger flames in my chest, its heat burning empathy and kindness to cinders.  

Parallel to the coup, the craziness that is my job, and the pandemic is my life. My family, finishing my second book and revising the first, chores, meals, bills. Yeah. LIFE is superimposed on all of this in a way that feels like I am living in two dimensions at once. Not to mention the guilt. Because, despite all my whining I have a home and my bills are paid and my babies are safe.

HOW the hell do I find peace amid this? I asked a fellow writer on Instagram that very same thing. She had a lovely picture of a fire burning, her dog laying next to her, and laptop open with an impressive word count. I really yearned to find out her secret for how she managed this amazing tableau. My covetous heart was grinding and spitting.

By Friday, my frayed rope connecting me to my own humanity snapped and I dropped to Station 4,133, which is wedged precariously on the side of Mount TO-DO List. I have been attempting to scale this mountain my whole life, fervently hoping to plant my flag at Summit Happiness.

Yeah. Friday. My head hurt in a way in had never ached before and I was even more tired than I had been Thursday and I was so tired on Thursday that I slept through my Zoom Bible Study. I didn’t realize it until I woke Friday morning.

WORSE, I attended a funeral for a very young man on Friday and held the hand of his mother who couldn’t stop laying her head on his casket and crying out in anguish. He was shot by the police. The body cam shows an officer shooting an unarmed man with his hands up. HORRIFIC.

I can only tell you that I could barely carry all that I was feeling in my heart. I couldn’t watch TV or read or write. I got nothing done. I was mean to my kids on a day when I should have been holding them close thanking GOD for their every breath.

Nope. Not. ME. See why I told you I shouldn’t be giving anyone advice? I am really a mess. Saturday morning, I took the kids to the wildest part of our city, where you can barely hear the traffic and there are trees and foxes and so many birds. My aunt and cousin met up with us and we walked, socially distanced, and just talked about nothing and everything.

I spent the rest of the day under my down comforter, with SmokeyMagic, and reading Snow by John Banville. An excellent winter read about a murder and the complexity of humanity.

I overslept and poor Smokey was absolutely crazed by the time I heated her pate and got her door open. My hair knotted from sleep, un-brushed teeth, and from my perch on the Livingroom couch I told Sunday to take off her lingerie and put on her soft sweater and her warm slippers. I drank coffee and watched movies until my family staggered out of their dens.

Without fancy calendars or the perfect pen, I made a menu for the week based on the food I have in the house. Stuffed Bell Peppers, Orange Chicken, Grilled Cheese, and Carne Asada Burritos. Steel cut oats and Barley (Que groans from the kids) and salads for lunch.  If you are looking for amazing plans with amazing healthy dishes, look elsewhere. And let me know what you find as I am always interested in ideas.

I take heart that everything is homemade, that I use as many organic ingredients that I can, that I minimize meat and maximize veg. More importantly, it tastes good and isn’t made in a factory.

In the same clothes that I slept in I chopped garlic, sliced grape tomatoes, and sauteed it in EVOO. A dash of some good balsamic, handful of spinach, a few shrimps. Then I swirled in vermicelli, parm, and a little bit of pasta water. I felt closest to myself there, in front of the stove.

When I look back over the last week, I see that I did the best I could. I exercised. I apologized to my kids for being an asshole.

I allowed myself to rest at Station 4,133. I stayed in my sleeping bag and read a good book with my trusty companion curled by my side. Well, not exactly by my side. But close. SmokeyMagic is very good at setting boundaries.

As I set out on Monday on my continued trek to reach Summit Happiness, I will try very hard not to be an asshole. That’s the best I got this week.

Time to Wonder

“Can I schedule a time to wonder?” I wondered this morning as I finally sat down to write.

I had a hard time falling asleep last night.

I was excited about getting 5 WHOLE DAYS OFF.

In my head I can see time stretching before me. No deadlines or emails. The garage was cleaned last weekend. The laundry is almost caught up. Just the thought of me doing me got my heart racing.

I lay in bed trying to sleep but it was NOT HAPPENING.  I wanted so badly to wake bright eyed and ready to have an amazing and unfettered and creatively wondrous day. Instead of sleeping I watched datelines until my eyelids drooped heavy and the last thing, I remember hearing was about some ex-hockey player getting life for killing his wife.  

As a result of my bad decisions in the face of my insomnia I woke sluggish. My eyes opened reluctantly at the time they do every morning which is somewhere between 4:30 and 5. Smokey Magic started walking all over me, her purring getting louder and louder the longer I stayed under the covers.  

The smell of coffee walked me downstairs and the anticipation of drinking a hot cup of coffee without the drums of work in the distance, woke me.

I turned on the Christmas tree lights their seductive wink masking the chaos. As I heated Smokey’s breakfast. Yes. You read that correctly. I pop her wet food into the micro for 7 seconds so it is like eating a fresh kill, or so I imagine. She rubbed all over my legs in anticipation. Smokey contentedly ate her “fresh killed” chicken and I stalked down my favorite mug and created the perfect concoction of raw sugar and cream mixed until the coffee was a dark caramel.

Steam swirled around as I bent over to unlatch Smokey’s door and I sipped perfection as I took the stairs back to my snow-white comforter.

One of my favorite things to do is to watch a movie very early in the morning, before anyone else is up, sipping coffee, snuggled into my blankets.

I started to unwind despite the guilt and unease and I let myself get enfolded into Midnight Sky on Netflix. I just finished the book and have been eagerly awaiting its premier. It did not disappoint. I found myself crying with so many questions running through my head…

What kind of American am I? Was one of the questions that popped into my head as I watched the credits roll. What kind of woman? Are Humans essentially good? What will happen to us? Can we save the planet? Just as I was getting up to write what I was thinking the sound of the kids calling out to one another from their beds wafted down the hallway.

Outside my window it was still densely gray but here and there the outline of a branch peeked around the fraying edges of a fog still reluctant to make way for sunrise.

With a sigh, I reversed course and headed back downstairs to prep the Prime Rib for tomorrow. Just a little bit longer, I promised myself.

Prime Rib scored and salted and dry aging in the fridge I headed back upstairs. You’d think with all this stair climbing I would be as lithe as a gazelle. I wish.

The kids were still in bed ,half asleep. I knew I had to hurry if I wanted to have some private time for prayer and writing. But just as soon as I was done praying, the kids were up, and it was time for breakfast. Resentment kept time with my heartbeat.

I wanted to fight the resentment off and keep the calm that had filled me after praying so I grabbed Mary Oliver’s Devotions. I let the kids choose and they chose While I Am Standing Here and I read it out loud as the they ate. The words rose and fell in a steady motion matching the gentle sway of her thoughts. Mary takes ordinary actions and turns them into a melody.

That poem asks what prayer is and invites you to answer—privately. She conjures images of stillness and I could see it resonate with the kids.

After reading I realized that my pleasure at sharing poetry over breakfast was partially derived from my idea of what it looked like to others. The picture I had created was for some invisible audience that would approve. GOOD MOM. I could hear them say.

I sat there with this other audience observing the dining table disarray.  It was missing its special Christmas cloth as one of the kids had spilled milk all over it the night before. Two chairs do not match the other two chairs. Pencils, tape, scissors, wrapping paper share space with the butter dish and jar of jam. The tally of what was wrong with me and this moment rolled through my thoughts like a ticker tape at the bottom of a newscast.

Maybe there won’t be presents next year….

You won’t get all your projects done for your job and your boss will be disappointed…

The kids are fucked up and it’s your fault…

The house is crumbling around your ears…

I wish I could make a magic potion that I could drink and then presto…I would be free.

I pulled myself together thinking of the peace of my meditation before my prayers.  Of the sounds of birds chirping as they fluttered through the tree. The sparkle of dew on the plant I had watered. The dried orchid blossom inside the hand carved wooden box on my writing desk. The soft feel of the polished stones of my rosary. The silence as I plugged into the universe and felt its vibrancy and light.

I mopped up the yolk of my eggs and savored the last bite of my bacon and with my mouth half full suggested that the kids open one of their presents.

They smiled and joked as they unwrapped their gift from Smokey. Smokey is bad at gift wrapping, I explained to the audience.

And then the ticker tape started back up. So much to clean…I haven’t written yet…I am wasting my free time…my room is dirty

I marched myself to my office and pushed myself into my writing chair. Sit down. Shut up. Just write.

There is never going to be a day that everything is done at the office. There will always be cobwebs on the Haunted Nativity that was set up 11 years ago and hasn’t been dusted since. Someone will most likely spill milk on the special Christmas Table Cloth again.  There is always going to be chaos and a long list of chores.

The wonders in my life can be found in the choices I make with the time I am given.

The Best Intentions

It turns out that it is much harder than I thought to build a site and write my very first Finally Friday blog post…all in one day. I had wanted it to be just in time for Mother’s Day, a particularly difficult holiday for me…But.

But, there was a mix up at GoDaddy which meant that domain mapping couldn’t be completed. A fancy name for writing some numbers into 3 fields, which then points my domain name to WordPress. But pointing name servers couldn’t be done because no one could find my domain name. *Insert pretend scream.* To keep my mind off things as I waited I took deep breaths, drank water, watched stupid t.v., and scrolled through twitter reading stupid and horrifying political posts.

But, while in the middle of one of my numerous customer service phone calls, I received a very bad, no good, horrible kind of text with terrible news. Which, I will keep to myself for the moment because I am still thrashing it around my head and my heart is trying to figure out what to do with news.

But, I came down with the flu that I picked up from chaperoning a Band Trip to Disneyland. Note to self: Do not do that again.

But, the cursor is blinking on my Mother’s Day story and I have to go slice some ginger and lemon, twirl some honey onto a spoon, and drop it all into a mug to await the whistle of the kettle, because my throat hurts–from arguing with the kids about cleaning the entry way.

But, that’s another story.

I hope my intentions are up to the road blocks.