This day of “Everyday”

Hello friends and strangers,

Hopefully you are well. I write this after what I could normally consider a dragging, hectic Monday at work. A valued co-worker put in her notice of resignation, another is miserable with a cough and sniffles, and I didn’t accomplish much productivity over my weekend.

I can’t help but be happy though, content, somehow calm. I’ve got my door open so the wind can blow. All manner of birds can be heard, as well as the simmering of a vegetable broth on the stove. Clove is grooming herself, just out of reach on the rug and I have baked a very healthy and visually pleasing dinner. Just kidding, it’s frozen mini corn dogs but they are yummy.

Since not much productivity happened over my weekend, I came home to a very messy apartment: Clean clothes strewn everywhere, trash desperately needing handling, and a kitchen full of dirty dishes. I powered through them immediately upon getting home, a rare occurrence that normally drains me. Yet, I feel full emotionally. I’m almost afraid to admit it, that it won’t be true if I do. Is this purely gratitude? I honestly don’t remember the last day of “regular” life that I was this wholly happy for it to be mine.

I have much to be grateful for and I just felt the need to share how thankful I am that I can actually feel it today instead of just knowing it. Hopefully you are able to escape the blur of time passing. Have a wonderful evening of this day, of your everyday.

Turning out Spring

It is officially Spring. Not just on the calendar, but also in the cold rain and green peeking through.


Yesterday and today have been graced with rain, and while gloom usually gets me down, these instances felt relaxing. Maybe it’s the birdsong breaking through the patter of droplets, or the seagulls call once again echoing off of wet pavement.
I must have partially forgotten that I like rain. As long as it isn’t endless gloom and keeping oneself indoors, it really is quite lovely. You can smell growth in the air and hope shows itself in buds appearing on trees.

I went on a walk last Saturday. It was my only day to sleep in and I got up early to go on a walk. Though the wind was strong and cold, it felt really good to force myself to take a moment to slow down.

Slowing down or slow living, in concept, makes sense. Putting it into practice for my own life is slightly more challenging. When I haven’t accomplished my high standard or expectation of what should be achieved, the harshest critic lives inside my head. Not even realizing, I’ll beat myself up for needing a nap, or only accomplishing two loads of laundry instead of cleaning the whole apartment. Do I base my worth, in part, on how much I’ve done? It might be so.

There’s got to be a difference between a strong work ethic and running yourself ragged trying to keep up with impossible expectations, a balance between self care and growth. It’s definitely a struggle for me. How about you? Do you understand and/or experience this?

Maybe there are seasons for these things. I’m unsure what they would be but hopefully it’s turning out Spring.

Today’s Someday

I wrote the excerpt below, about nine years ago. I did not own a piano. I did not have my own place to live.

Someday, in my made up future, I will wake up to the birds singing and the sunlight streaming through my window. Smiling, I will slip out from between my covers and stretch, fingers towards the ceiling, before walking into the kitchen. I will make myself a delicious, healthy, breakfast and eat it outside in the morning air. After putting the dishes away, getting dressed, and pulling my hair back, I will go and sit down at my deep, black, grand piano and let all of my thoughts and feelings flow out of my fingertips until they echo in the air.
Maybe I will laugh, a smile on my face. Maybe I will cry, tears escaping with each note.
And after I’m done, and there is nothing left to be said, I will close that gorgeous piano back up. I will close the doors to the room where the emotions still hover thick in the air, and I will step into the breathtaking sunshine. Eyes closed, I will listen, waiting for your response.

Reading this poem now, I can see that my dream for my future has pretty much become true. There are no doors to close my piano into it’s own room because I live in a (wonderful) studio apartment. There was no chance that I could purchase my bucket-list instrument, but my grandmother willed me hers.

This was a reminder I needed.

I hope you enjoyed a peek into some of my very old writing.

Inside of the piano

Look how far we’ve failed

There have been a few things lately that I could count as failures and I will share them, because I said that I would not only share my successes but also what I learn from my not so successful ventures. It’s nothing too weighty but it forces me to think of how far I’ve come as well.

Thing number one: Using a wax seal to make a gorgeously finished letter (and then mailing it). Turns out, I used the wrong wax and the entire thing pulled away from the paper. Also, stamps are far more expensive than I last remembered and the letter in question still needs to make it to the mailbox!
I have learned that you need to use actual sealing wax to press a good pattern into and have it stick.

It actually looked much worse than this.

Thing number two: Making a cozy, creamy, comfort food, crock-pot chicken dish entirely without following a recipe. It would have been alright if I didn’t second guess how cooked the chicken was at the end of the first 4 hours. It looks awful now, after I cooked it several more hours, and I can’t bring myself to eat it.
Lesson learned: There can be some pink in cooked chicken as long as it’s the right texture.

Both of these things happening in the same week did get me a little down. I am a perfectionist after all. Yes, I know that I’m hard on myself and have difficulty accepting any real compliment. Doling them out to others is much easier. Last night, I was watching an old episode of The Great British Baking Show, with my parents. Before leaving, I thanked them for all the support and encouragement they give me and said “You’re awesome.” My dad shot back “You’re awesome!” and I accepted it super gracefully with a “meh”. He was quick to back up his statement, telling me to look at how far I’ve come. Maybe I’m not where I want to be, but I’m much closer than I was.

Thankfully, he is right and I think it’s true for a lot more people than just me. Let me pass on his encouragement to you. You’re awesome. Look how far you’ve come.

Forward

I wonder, if someone was to write the “forward” to my life right now, what would they say?

I have such an overwhelming desire to create, to push my boundaries, stretch my wings and see how far they can take me. I want the time to devote to these pursuits, to learn and grow.

This pandemic has given me so much but also left me wondering where can I really go from here? I would love a creative field to be my sustaining career but currently, I work in an office position that drains me emotionally and fills my bank account better than any previous employment. I have ideas that I want to test and joy that I want to bring to people but my energy after a work day is close to zero and my weekends are spent trying to catch up on the “adulting” to-do list, taking care of myself, and preparing for the week ahead. This does not leave much room for the things that I am passionate about.

Does anyone out there have any advice on this?
The logical, responsible, side of me says, this is how it is and you just have to do the 9-5 thing in order to be taken seriously, to properly provide for yourself, and to make anything of yourself in society’s eyes.
The other side of me, high on imagination and dreams, keeps saying that there must be a way to make it possible. This blog is the only step I’ve been able to take in the direction of my dreams lately. I don’t know if it will be able to ignite the others and bring them to life as well, but it’s a step.

My very idea of what I would want to do for my own creative business rests in the idea of a mental escape. We all need that excitement, that adventure and glee, like the kind you get from immersing yourself in another world through a good book or a fantastical movie.
Not all of us can go study at an elite university in Europe, get caught up in a dramatic love, worthy of poetry that lives through ages of history. Not (any?) of us were born royalty, struggling to make the right decisions for our kingdom, while pacing the halls of our castle in elegant garb. There are some who live in cottages or on farms, surrounded by the quiet morning until it is pierced by the rooster announcing arrival of a new day. Dark, hidden hovels, tucked into the lush forest, rafters strung with herbs and the aroma of fresh bread, all of these beckon to me as lives I do not have but want a taste of.

I’ve been trying to bring bits of, pieces of, these feelings and ideas into my own life as much as I can. The way the sun shone on a stand-out piece of moss or the mud squished under my boots, on my walk with a friend, these are things that I find myself clinging to.

There are many things for me to be grateful for, many provisions, I just wonder, if I reached out, could I touch the stars?

Thank you for reading my brain explosion/rant/excitement. If you work in a creative field that is considered much less likely to “succeed” by society, (artists, musicians, creative writers, etc.) do you have any suggestions?

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A bag of grapefruit

The weather is finally warming up here in my part of the Midwest. Longer hours of sunlight, no chill that makes your skin burn and your teeth hurt, it could almost be thought to be Spring. I wanted to solidify the feeling by bringing a refreshing zing of sunshine into a bake, while also using the grapefruit that has been occupying my lower fridge drawer for an uncertain amount of time. Thankfully, I already had all of the ingredients for this take on lemon bars, found while “in my feels” on Pinterest.

It’s a simple recipe, though a little labor intensive but the flavor is perfectly balanced between tart and sweet. Instead of pre-cooking the curd, it bakes in the oven on the crumbly, four-ingredient, shortbread crust.

While found on Pinterest, this is from a blog that did all the hard work of creating the recipe and taking beautiful photos of their bars. If you want to give them a try, see the recipe, or visit Amber’s blog where this credit is fully due, click here. She has far more than just dessert on her beautifully curated blog “Dessert Now Dinner Later”.

Citrus makes me think of summer and warmer weather but red grapefruit is in season October through April and other citrus starts as early as December! I think it’s great to have such a fresh, bright fruit be in season when it tends to be the coldest and darkest here in the Midwest. Thank you Texas, for growing the grapefruits I was able to use for these bars.

Do you have a dessert that makes you think of warmer weather or Spring? Is it warming up where you live?

Consider this our lovely internet picnic, strangers and friends.

When Stars Say Goodnight

I noticed the subject of this post a while ago but I observed and learned more about it recently. A hefty portion of last week was spent laying in my bed, if not sleeping. Looking up through the top half of my window, head on pillow, there appears one bright star. Framed perfectly in view, right around the time I am supposed to be drifting off to sleep, it slowly creeps across the two panes before continuing out of sight. I get about twenty to twenty-five minutes with my goodnight star when there are no clouds.

I’ve long loved the stars. Whenever I am having a hard time or feeling alone, it always seems to be a clear night when I look up and am able to just breathe and be. They make me happy. I feel a little bit more alive, seen, and peace enters that moment. For me, it’s not the stars themselves that are the source of this, but instead they are a conduit, a reminder.

Did you know that stars sing? Each star has it’s own tone it sends out into space. They all have names too. That’s so beautiful to me.

If you are interested in stars, like me, free tip: get the “Sky Guide” app on your phone. You can learn so much and hear each tone too. It’s how I found out my window star’s name is Sirius, that it is thirty times brighter than the sun, and is eight point six light years away.

Do you get wrapped up in staring at a starry night? Maybe you have a favorite star. Either way, I hope I was able to bring you a little taste of the wonder I experience related to them.

Goodnight friends and strangers.

temporary tattoo: “of dust and stars”

Sunshine on the mind

Today, finally, was wonderful. Living with chronic illness, on any level, makes every small accomplishment a victory and today I felt well enough to do a full-on deep powerclean of the apartment. I’ll admit, it really needed it but being able to make so much progress, visible progress even, felt amazing.

The sun was shining beautifully earlier and people were out in force to soak it up. Anything above 30 degrees (F) here is tropical right now. You should have seen the lines for car washes! It’s supposed to snow a lot again tonight I guess. I don’t mind as long as it stays “warm” and doesn’t ice over.

This week was quite something, just weird. I tend to have trouble keeping my days straight anyway but it feels like a whole year went by. Speaking of time passing, I can’t believe it’s already March in a couple days. What an interesting time we live in.

What was hard about your week? What fills you with energy? I hope that you are able to enjoy your weekend. More to come ~

From the kitchen rug

Some days it’s just not practical to try to think of everything as wonderful and fantastical. Some days require oneself to see the day for what it is and simply make the best of it.

Today is not a bad day. There is sunlight streaming through my window and I am afforded some peace and quiet, apart from my own head trying to wind me up. My rabbit, Clove is out and doesn’t feel the need to move around the apartment much. Instead, she is enjoying sitting on the rug in the kitchen and occasionally visiting me to see if I will share the apple I have just sliced.

It’s been a long week. I can’t quite explain it but I feel drained, drowsy and just a bit broken. That’s the truth. Learning to recognize my own emotions and struggles, while also finding the beauty and positivity in my days is a constant learning experience. I post the beautiful things I look for and find, to increase my thankfulness and appreciation for what I have. I don’t want anyone to be mislead by thinking that my pictures, my highlight reel, is all there is to my life. Life is deep. There is always more to the story than you can see.

Enjoy this beautiful day strangers and friends. There is only one of it.

Endings with PB&J

The fact that I wanted to be an author for several years of my life but have never finished a story really bothers me sometimes. It makes me wonder if I will ever be able to finish what I put my mind to. I’ve always had a hard time with endings, with goodbyes. My style of writing stories always throws you straight into the thick of it and I’m curious if that makes beginnings hard too. Even writing this post, my mind is running from one thing to the next too quickly. A chorus of things I want to do and associated thoughts sing in my head like an orchestra with an untrained conductor.

Letter writing is something that I’ve wanted to get into but I haven’t had anyone to write to. Today, I received a response to a letter I had written back to the only Christmas letter addressed only to me. I’m very excited to continue snail mailing them so that’s an instrument in my brain orchestra.

Derailing from writing is my desire to practice and grow in my Japanese language knowledge. A good friend told me she couldn’t read my blog because I did not properly use the oxford comma. This threw me into a conundrum, as I had thought I was fully supporting the correct use of said comma. My writing is rustier than I had originally thought. What does that have to do with Japanese? Just the wondering if the sentence structure of Japanese has seeped into how I write my English phrases. Are there any other strong supporters of the Oxford comma here? Anyone who speaks, reads and writes Japanese?

Thank you for reading my poorly conducted thoughts this evening.
It feels like eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner, when you could have cooked something. Maybe it’s messy and quick, but at least it’s classic comfort food.