Potentially Nonsense

Postcards from places I've never been.

Category: Oregon

And then, the snow.

This week’s writing prompt is: NEXT

Next is both a rock in my shoe and a double-espresso to my soul.

Next is cherry blossoms and leaf buds and rhododendron fireworks. Next is the marvel of infant garter snakes at both ends of twilight, soaking the last of the day from the sidewalk.

Next is sun and heat and stiff skin telling me I’ve definitely got a sunburn.

Next is humidity and heat that matches my own body, so it’s hard to breathe and hard to feel real and hard to know if I’m breathing at all, a stratified lake turning over, up and down suddenly a dizzying match.

Next is long days and pleasant nights and feeling the air like a cool drink as the leaves start to whisper a colorful change.

Next is the shock of realizing the leaves have changed, and the ground smells rich and the earthworms are out at night and pumpkins start popping up on porches like grinning mushrooms.

Next is wet feet and telling myself again that I should get a raincoat and the mud tries to steal my shoes. Next is the longing for fairylights and a snap in the morning air and the ancestral pull to migrate or die.

And then, the snow.

Bats at the umbrella factory

Meanwhile, back at the umbrella factory.

Last May, my landlord raised the renty by $50. On the first of this year, they raised it $85. In September, they’re going to raise it another $50.

I’m deeply tired of renting.

It’s not like it’s a fancy apartment. The only real amenities are that we can hang out in the apartment office and use the WiFi, and an alleged gym with a few weights and an elliptical.1

I need to discontinue my certification goal for bit, as finances are too tight. I’ll hopefully be able to come back it after September, as I’m not going to be able to afford to stay here once they raise rent again. With some luck, I’ll find a place cheap enough to have some financial wiggle room to get back into things.

In the meantime, NaNoCertMo will need to be on hiatus. See you soon, Bats.

My own private Ida-nope.

Today’s post is short1. I’m going to go to bed early. I’m going to get up later than I’ve been getting up this week, because I’m writing this ahead of time. I’m scheduling it.

In the morning, I’m going to take a longer shower than necessary. I’m going to have two, two cups of coffee.2 I’ll take the dog on his constitutional, and then I’ll go to work. After work, the doggo and I are going for another walk. How decadent!

That’s what my self care looks like, today. That’s how I’m going to take care of myself. That’s how I’m going to protect my self, today. I may come back later and post pics of the walk, or I may not. It will be a surprise for both of us.

So I’m not writing a proper post today, because I’m opting in for a little nonproductive time spent taking care of myself.

Are you doing anything intentional this month to look after or protect your own wild and precious self?

This blog has been taken over by the 2018 Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

Too tired to be inspired

I’m so tired, I’m shaking.

I want sleep so bad that I feel like crying. My arms and legs are heavy and slow. My eyes are slow and gritty. There’s not enough Visine in the world for this. Getting myself out of bed was like a physical pain. At least there’s no migraine, which this kind of thing can often trigger.

It’s been a long week with work, and it’s Tuesday, and there’s my elderkitty’s health, and there’s life, and there’s learning to live alone, and there’s learning to comfort myself instead of just taking care of other people, and I’m tired.

T-I-R-E-D.

And now my Maggie-cat has jumped onto my shoulder from behind me, from the bed. She’s old, and doesn’t feel good, and wants to be held. So I’m holding her soft fur, and her warm kitty body, and I’m listening to her comforting purr, and that makes me want sleep even more.

Also, it means typing one-handed.

Can I just crawl back into my nice beautiful warm bed? I could curl up with Maggie Mayhem purring in my arm, like we’ve done almost every night for 18 years, and we could both go back to sleep for another 10 minutes before I have to leave for work. Ten more minutes. When I have ten minutes left of my lunch break, it seems like nothing. This morning it seems like a sleepy lifetime.

I’m tired, so that’s why I’m not writing this blog entry, today.

At night I’ve been setting an alarm to encourage me to go to bed at a good time. Each night, all the chores I need to do take longer than I think that they will, or should. Suddenly single after fourteen years, with three cats, one dog, a full-time job… don’t I deserve a little extra sleep? It’s a lot of work maintaining everything. Is it really that important that it get up and post this? It’s not like anyone would know. It’s not a paid gig. I’m not changing the world with it.

I’m not changing the world. I’m changing myself. I’m changing my priorities, and teaching myself to see my own time as having value and use when I take it for myself. My time is not only useful when I use it to support other people. It is not only valuable when I’m trading it for money.

This month is about noticing my excuses, and walking through them. It’s about learning how to take care of myself, and about learning what new dreams I want to dream. It’s about waking up. It’s not about going back to sleep.

Are you still with me this morning, writing, fellow Write 31 Day-ers? Leave a comment, and I’ll drop by your blog to say hello. Let’s bolster each other, and limp across the finish line with our arms around each other’s shoulders.

May we all sleep well, tonight, when the day is done.

This blog has been taken over by the 2018 Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

Five Minute Friday: Share

This week I’m participating in Five Minute Friday. FMF is pretty much what it sounds like – set a timer, write for five minutes on the prompt provided. It’s been a great tool for getting me up and writing, before work, on this, the most holy day of the workweek.

Today’s Five Minute Friday Freewrite prompt is: SHARE.

I’ve worked for myself for a lot of years. I took care of the hands and feet of marginalized and vulnerable people, like those in the trans community, and under-served people, like veterans, and people who were physically unable to do so for themselves, like those with cerebral palsy or dementia.

It was humble work, and it (mostly) paid the bills.

^^ It’s the “mostly” in that sentence that’s concerning.

When my (now ex-)husband quit yet another job without a word, because he didn’t get along with his manager, (“It’s like she’s not even trying to figure out how to make me happy!” Seriously. Those words were spoken.) I finally snapped. I knew I didn’t want to live like this for another 14 years. And that meant taking on traditional employment.

I had to leave my clients. That was so, so hard. I called so many people, trying to find anyone else in town who does what I did. I did my best, but most techs only serve out of spas, and few take on the extra training to become a medical nail tech. My heart was so broken to leave them. I’m still broken about that. Is this a taste of how therapists feel when they have to let a client go?

After six months or so of job hunting and contracting and temping, I finally got on at a great place. The work is meh, but the mission is amazing.

But… it’s an entirely different kind of work environment. There’s no hugging someone who looks like they need it, or prompting them to share more and to work things out talking with me. There’s no hand holding. It’s not a place where I can hold out a hand and “oooh” over someone’s sparkly nail polish. There’s no deep sharing of life stories, or unburdening while I give someone a foot massage.

It’s a Fairly Serious and Professional Place.

The sharing that takes place, physical, verbal, and emotional, is so different from what I’ve been doing that my instincts are all wrong. I have to constantly remind myself it’s not appropriate to touch someone on the shoulder, after years of working with people who were touch-deprived. It’s not appropriate to smile and call someone “sweetheart,” when they’re having a hard time and could use comfort.

I’m constantly monitoring myself to make sure I don’t share or ask for too much information. It’s strange and exhausting and kind of lonely. It’s been the hardest part of going back to office life, which I hadn’t been expecting at all.

I went from working in IT to taking care of people, and now am back to working in an office. Have you had to make an unexpected, major career transition? Because, dude. I could really use some tips on this.

In case you’re having a bad day, here’s something that made me smile.

This blog has been taken over by the Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

It’s sunny.

Great googly moogly, look at that sunshine. What a shame it would be to be stuck indoors on this lemonade-and-sunglasses kind of day. The temperature is perfect. It smells amazing out there, after yesterday’s rain.

Nope. I can’t possibly spend even 15 minutes writing, today. The sunshine. I must be out in it.

This is when I desperately miss having a garden. Pots on a balcony are nice, but to have an entire morning to myself, shoveling dirt, pinching off leggy plants, finding surprise bugs and volunteer plants, feeling the strength in my back and legs and arms.

Oh man. This is when I’m tired of living in an apartment. I love my apartment neighbors, and the fact that I can have company whenever I crave it, but I do miss the physicality of being able to work on a house and a yard.

In fact, this is a perfect day to go to Spencer Butte. I think I’ll do just that.

So that’s why I’m not writing today. It’s gorgeous and sunny out.

In case you’re having a hard day, here is a dandy lion.

This blog has been taken over by the Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

It’s raining.

It’s raining.

It’s raining; it’s pouring.
The old woman is snoring.
She went to bed and bumped her head,
And she couldn’t get up in the morning.

Seriously, it’s all grey and yucky outside and I’m utterly unmotivated. I am without motive. I cannot be bothered to motivate. Too tired to be inspired. I just want to curl up with a big, BIG quilt, some very hot tea, and as many cats as I can borrow from my neighbors for the day. (They don’t mind. Really.) I don’t want to move at all. I don’t want to go to work, or feed the animals, or walk the dog, or do anything that I don’t feel like doing. And I don’t feel like writing, because it’s raining.

It’s cold and drizzly. No one’s paying me to write, so I don’t actually have to, do I? I mean, what would the consequences be? (Well, other than letting myself down. So there’s that.) But. Rain. Water from the sky. If you’ve ever visited Oregon, you know this is some apocalyptic bullshit, right here. I can be a slug for one day. Who will notice? (I will.)

I want to stay inside and lay about and do nothing, even though that’s bad for the grey matter between my ears and makes me feel like a ghost. Yes, the weather dictates my life.

So that’s why I’m not writing today. It’s raining.

This blog has been taken over by the Write 31 Days challenge. Here’s the sweet, sweet index of all my posts of nope.

Sometimes you fly

This week I’m participating in Five Minute Friday. FMF is pretty much what it sounds like – set a timer, write for five minutes on the prompt provided. It’s been a great warm-up before throwing myself headlong into the writing train that is Write 31 Days.

This week’s Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: POTENTIAL.

When I move something that’s in danger of falling, like a glass too close to the edge of the counter, I generally think of it as removing some of it’s potential. It’s just an old snippet of high-school surfacing, when that was a running joke between my friends and I, picked up from an introductory physics class. We weren’t moving something, we were “removing its energetic potential.” We’re removing some of the risk that it’s going to fall, and reducing it’s energy.

And my mind moves to one of my favorite quotes, and strikes a spark against the first thought, from potential to falling to flying.

“Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”

― Neil Gaiman, Fables & Reflections, Sandman

This leads me to thinking about how, when I oh-so-carefully curate my life, I reduce my risk of falling, and I reduce my risk of flying, and I reduce the potential of my day, and rob my life of its energy, both useful and damaging.

And I think about how I’m like an abused cat I fostered years ago, that had to be taught to play. Gentle reader, I do not recreate well. At all. Work is fun, because that’s how I was raised, and how I’ve been shaped to live my adult life. No time for unproductive fun. I’m the first to offer a hand when someone is painting or remodeling or moving, but if they invite me to a housewarming party, I’ll usually find a reason not to go. I don’t gravitate towards fun. Here, in my 40s, I’m trying to learn how. I don’t even know what I like to do. I have to concentrate to notice what enjoyment is.

This is SO not the life I want.

Which brings me to an episode of Doctor Who I watched recently:

Bill: You know what I mean. Every choice I make in this moment, here and now, could change the whole future.

The Doctor: Exactly like every other day of your life. The only thing to do is to stop worrying about it.

― Doctor Who, Thin Ice

It’s only in fiction about time travelers that we worry about how our every action affects the future, but that’s every day, right here, right now. Today. Everything we do today affects our future. Every. Little. Butterfly. Flap. Spending a little time on a class instead of Twitter could entirely lift a life from one set of tracks to another. It raises potential and risk and the chances of falling and/or flying. Because there’s no separating them from each other. Time to start guiding that pesky little chaos butterfly, instead of just letting it get blown around.

I think about a ceramics class half a lifetime ago, where the instructor laughed at my worry as I shaped clay, and said, “You have to allow for the possibility that it might turn out well.”

I suppose that’s my takeaway, today. I have to allow that today/tomorrow might turn out well. There’s the potential of flying just as much as there’s the potential of falling. They can’t be separated. There’s no flying without some element of falling.

***

In case you’re having a bad day, here’s a photo of a man local to Eugene, who flys kites every single day. On the day in the photo, October 12, 2017, he was celebrating his 1,000th day in of a row of kite flying. I love when I run across him on walks.