Advice to Self in Difficult Times

Reminders to self (apply as needed):
Having to reconnect every single time I open this beast (the laptop) is only an inconvenience.
It’s okay if my eyes leak. It’s okay if it’s less than 5 drops. It’s okay if they don’t.
Hyperventilation is a stress reaction. I have (as much as anyone with moderate asthma has) control over my breathing and can choose to slow it down.
Quiet actions count. So does my voice. I should use it more.
I am beyond fortunate (privileged!) that the last week has mostly given me moderate inconvenience and some real fear. Many folks can’t say that.
I am probably going to be okay. Until I’m not. And that is okay, too.
I miss all your faces. Nearly desperately at times. I need to remember this in a year.
To date, I am bent (not unusual) but not broken. I can keep my aim true to that ideal.

Here I Am and There I Go

Having written, graphed, erased, re-written, and put a white board to more use than it expected, visual is not the best presentation for the ideas, ideals, activities and goals I want to pursue 2021. Too much overlap.

The focus is Care. The areas are myself, my environment, my relationships, my community (the world). (Start center, work outward, expect overlap). I have some daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly activities and goals to those ends. These goals, taken singularly, may be that ambitious, but 1. I have been lax (and don’t want to ignore those areas I haven’t been lax in either), and 2. there’s a lot of them. Thus, I commit at least to:

Daily: clean sink, make bed, get outside, read something other than social media. Spend minimum 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays working on the weekly, monthly, and annual activities and goals; it is the time I feel most restless.  

Weekly: exercise 1.5 hours, meditation  1.5 hours, work on creative/skills stuff 1.5 hours, household/yard maintenance and beautification, 1.5 hours. Date night. Call family.

Monthly: friend date night/zoom night/art night; call a friend; write a letter or send a package; post here.

Annual Goals: lose 12 pounds (weigh-in this morning is 157.4 lbs. – the heaviest I’ve ever been aside from pregnancy), read 12 books, make 12 posts (not counting this one), write/send 12 letters or packages,  learn 6 songs, donate or volunteer 6 times, get my passport. 

Next up, I need to figure out how to stay on top of, track progress, hold myself accountable, and have a plan to get back on track should I need it. I’m curious how bullet journals, monks’ manuals, habit apps, etc. have worked for folks, or what else y’all are using to help keep you on track.

No Time Like Now

Piece of resolution clock - someone wrote "'You owe it to us all to get on with what you're good at.' - W.H. Auden"

Good morning, dear ones. Welcome to a new year, if this is when you start your count. I start mine gradually, with solstice until the new year a time for contemplation, and the new year until my new year (January 6th) as a launch ramp.

I am not usually one for resolutions, especially public ones; this year, though, having spent the larger part of last year in unavoidable contemplation, I feel so moved.

There are areas I want to work on,  ideals I want to cultivate, activities  to do so, and goals as a specific way to stick to it. I may need a big sheet of paper or three to sort it all out. I am a visual thinker most naturally, so it might come together as a pie with concentric rings; the slices representing the areas with the ideals next ring out, followed by activities, and then goals. It might come together as connected clouds. It might be a Venn diagram. We’ll see.

I think of it also in this way: Attention, Intention, Action, Enrichment, the last not in a monetary sense but in a stop-wasting-so-much-time kind of way, a being better at being myself, connecting to others, and caring for my community (small and large) kind of way.

It’s coming together in a new way for me. I feel inspired, not coerced. I feel…not-so-guilty for past activity and lack of activity. Though I have them, I am not starting from a place of regret. I am truly sorry to those I have hurt (a few) or neglected (many). I may have lost people over this. If you are reading this, I hope you’ll stick around for this next phase of my journey.

In the coming days, I’ll get the meat of what I’ll be on about in the coming year. a version better than what I am ready to adequately express.  This is all under development, but the very writing and sharing (activity) are part  of the ideals of authenticity, accountability, and connection that I want to cultivate, with a goal of 12 such posts (minimum) throughout the year.


Get Some Good

Looked “outside” and nope, not much has changed other than the intensity. It’ll still be there for me to tend to tomorrow. Today, I am tending to me.

The afternoon’s distractions included getting the stereo working, and starting a butter pie crust (it’s resting in the fridge for a couple of hours before rolling). The working stereo totally changes our stay-at-home game. Break Away Records on North Loop by the way, is wonderful!  I called over and they had the headphone jack adapter and new speaker wire I needed. (Old speaker wire had corroded – I think that was the issue.) Pulled it and brought it out when I walked over, confirmed my troubleshooting plan, and made sure I already had the tools I needed. Now the stereo sounds amazing with Erykah Badu blaring. Grateful that was the last CD I had tried to play, it was right there, ready to go. It does have a couple of skips. Time to research disc recovery (can they be polished or cleaned?) or go MP3 shopping. Then possibly to the hills for comet viewing. We’ll see.

Hope you had some kind of good in your day as well. Love from the home front.


Like It or Not

…we are all in this together.

I understand if you aren’t sure which official announcement to believe when we were all admittedly lied to to start with; when we were told masks weren’t helpful because we weren’t trusted, and then told they are needed. We are given new information and new guidelines all of the time. The messages we get are mixed at best. I land on the side of STRONG caution, but I get not everyone will come to that conclusion in their thoughts. I ask you to at least come to that conclusion in your actions.

The worst that happens (to almost all of you) by being strict in distancing and masking is a little discomfort, inconvenience, and boredom.

If you own a business, (very few of us do), let your friends and loyal customers know how they can support you/your business if you don’t open back up to the public (gift cards, online ordering for curbside pick up, etc). Make sure they know masks and distance may help and won’t hurt if you feel you must open back up.

If the isolation is getting to you, (it does to me sometimes, too), pick up the phone. Many of us have all but ceased that old communication. It kept my family in touch with my grandparents for years during my childhood as we moved all over. It was (is) way more connecting than a text, email or social media.

Hating on each other on a personal level merely continues to divert attention from how we got here in the first place.  I’m saving my scorn for the lack of foresight, planning, and mitigation, for  depleted supplies of a de-funded, de-stocked stockpile that “necessitated” the first lie, for the still unexplained seizure of real PPE that is now still not available to hospitals or the public, for no action plan to get real supplies to citizens as well as medical professionals (who are still reporting shortages).

So, without hate, and without prejudice, I plead with you: wear your mask if you are near anyone not in your household; it helps if we ALL do it. It looks like we’re all we got.  Let’s let that go of personal animosity and take care of each other.


I miss you all so very much. I miss the random interactions. I miss being able to choose to or not to come out some where in the world to see you, to choose whether or not I accept a hug. I miss your faces, beautiful and blurry across a back yard fire pit, across a giant art fire, across a field as one of us speeds by. Until such a time as we can be together again, should we ever be so fortunate, know I love you.

Porch-sitting: a Tale of Two Times

This is some kind of time travel, not at all what I imagined.

I sit on the porch  watching passers-by. They are mostly oblivious or feigning obliviousness, none of my business which.

Time-slammed, date minus 30 years, not the same porch but close, 20-ish blocks south, on the same east-west line, sharing cheap jug wine with some friends, (it didn’t yet come in sealed bags, in sealed boxes, tapped for our convenience). Mike is up a tree, quite literally, shouting out, inviting people to join us. A few do.

Today, I sit alone, with a mostly cold beer.  We still need outdoors. Hell, we still need each other, a glimpse of each other’s faces (or at least each others’ eyes above a mask), the occasional friendly hello. There are no shouted invitations: no one wants one and I wouldn’t offer anyway. We are in crisis mode. This is a pandemic.  If we are close enough, we could kill each other.

We won’t share wine or sit on the porch until 3 a.m., beyond all reason. We aren’t together long enough to even share a laugh, much less a story.  Instead, we make do, grateful for a moment’s pleasantry and a moment of shared space, a (front) yard (several ruler yards) apart.


altar by the sea

How will we build an altar by the sea, with the tides ever receding, returning?
Build your altar to the moment, each moment, again and again.

NLong 4/1/2020 ©

Life in Isolation-Day 2

Izzi raising a toast and wishing you a good hour or two

This midday, I attended a zoom meeting for work, and this evening I went to a zoom party. It definitely improved my mood. I’ve hung out social media at various points, behind a wall of text, and it hasn’t. Live interaction is crucial if we want/need to rely on technological communications and still maintain a sense of connection. It’s better with voices, and better still if we can see each other. A wall if text is pretty depersonalizing, even while we take it all the more personally.

Also, even as an uncomfortable hugger, I miss hugs.

My New Year

Starting my year of being 54, and while my suit is notably crankier, my mind is as creative and curious as always and notably calmer than ever. My honey is out of town with his stepfather.  I am spending the day with my grand babe. This is the age of caring for our young ones and our older ones. Dinner with the family last night and art with a friend tomorrow night are my celebration. I haven’t planned for this evening. I’ll see what comes up. Happy my birthday to you all. I love you.