NPM – 6 of 30

“a hard cry could draw walls in, it could bend metal,
it could turn a full moon into a sliver”
– from The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

not as much as before
not like it used to be
tears enough to drown in
sorrows fit for a crone

but the aftermath produced
no supernatural
redemption, no relief
just fatigue

slow unrolling
of hours, lists of
ingredients for recipes
that will maybe
get made, wait on
stovetop for others
to maybe eat

waiting to give in
to sleep, to hear
one or another return
not call out to me
the awkwardness
seemingly too much
to overcome

if only the sobs
could have broken
open more than
just my heart

if only the weeping
could have been
a baptism, a beginning
rather than the exit
sign that finally lit up

NPM – 3 of 30

uneven

last night, my chin gushed blood
due to an unfortunate launch
of the cat from my face

in sleep, an apology given
soothed a troubled mind

in the morning, as I brushed
my teeth, an unexpected
tilt
I tried to balance myself
tried to steady what I
didn’t understand

it turned my day upside down
from the start, brought a
foreboding I tried to manage
mostly successfully

as the workday wore on
I distracted myself from
fear, telling myself it was
in my head

but now as I prepare for bed again
I still feel like I’m trying to right
something

‘we’re going to die in this stairwell’

Mid-morning yesterday, the emergency alarm sounded at work. Unlike our last building, this one’s alarm comes with a voice that says, “There is an emergency in the building. Exit the building immediately,” along with a piercing alarm sound that continues repeatedly.

I work on the 6th floor of an 11-story building. In the last building, I was on floor 3 of a 6-story building. I made my way to one of two stairwells along with everyone else on my floor. We merged into the mass of people heading down from the floors above. It was slow-moving, and then we stopped.

We all assumed it was a drill (which it was). But as we were stopped, literally not making any progress to exiting the building, several people joked how we were going to die in the stairwell.

I was surrounded by people I didn’t know. I could see some of my co-workers above and below me, but no one I knew was immediately next to me. Even though the majority of my heart and mind understood that this exercise was a drill, and that the people saying these things around me were joking, there was a small part of me that went to the other extreme. What if this wasn’t a drill? I mean, it’s not unheard of in the times we’re living in, that there could be an actual situation somewhere in the building that other people wouldn’t know about. My mind flipped through scenarios — a gunman in the building, a bomb threat — my thoughts even registered that a fire might not even be as bad as those things. I thought of the stories I’ve read about people who were in the stairwells of the World Trade Center, then I was back where I was, in the stairwell of my building, not moving an inch, surrounded by all these bodies, people who didn’t comprehend or consider that we actually might be in danger, and I came within moments of a panic attack.

Thankfully, I was able to calm myself before I fell off the edge of rational thought, and also it was around that time that we slowly continued our descent. I still am not sure why things got so backed up. Once outside, I made my way over to the 6th floor safe zone and talked with a couple people and waited until the all clear.

When the all clear call came, I knew that the line for the elevators would be crazy. There are 5 elevators for all floors and 1 elevator (express) that goes to the top three floors only (meeting rooms, executive offices). Instead of waiting in line, I decided to use the rest room and try to collect myself further away from the mass of humanity that would be in the lobby.

Even after I used the bathroom, I could tell from the din coming from the lobby that it was still crowded, so I decided to use the stairs to go back to my office. My friend Mike often asks if I want to take the stairs up after we get coffee in the morning. I always say no. And now I know that my answer is justified. I wouldn’t want to be huffing and puffing next to him. I had to take breaks as I walked up to the 6th floor. My legs buckled on the last couple flights. I get why the stair climber is such a popular exercise apparatus. It’s a great workout. But when you’re dressed for work (even though yesterday was College Student Friday so we could dress down), it’s not cool to be sweaty when you return to your desk.

Ironic isn’t it that people said we were going to die in the stairwell on the way down, and me thinking of the way I might describe how I felt as I was on the way up.

what in the actual f**k?

Seriously. Gun violence in America is out of control. And I don’t just mean the tragedies that happen like today’s awfulness in San Bernardino or previous incidents in Sandy Hook, Roseburg, Colorado Springs, and numerous other places. I also mean the hundreds of children who die because they find a gun in their home, their mother’s purse, or because an older sibling accidentally shoots their kid brother or sister. I’m also talking about gangs and gang violence. And I’m also talking about police.

I saw one tweet today that said something like, “Everyone in America is a sitting duck.” I totally feel that way a lot lately. I was in Starbucks this morning, before San Bernardino even happened, and I thought, “What if something happened here?” Or when I was at the hospital for my ultrasound with the fire alarm going off.

When shit like this happens, you often hear people say, “You just never think it can happen to you.” That’s not how I think. I totally believe something like that can happen to me, to people I love. It’s numbing. I try very hard to not let it get me down, to focus on good things, to be grateful, but damn, it’s tough to do sometimes.

I did a small thing tonight. I signed this petition: http://act.everytown.org/sign/Join-This-Fight. I’m tired of just being upset about it. I don’t like guns. I don’t want guns in the hands of kids. I don’t want them in the hands of mentally ill people. I don’t want them in the hands of terrorists. Like I said, it’s a small thing, but it’s something.

“And I wish that I could take
All the guns in this sick place
And melt them into coins
And buy compassion for the human race
And I know it sounds cliche
But, I’m tired of this violence…”

  • by Steve Poltz from “Your Ghost”

I forgot!

I totally spaced on blogging yesterday! Sorry! To make up for it, I will post twice today.

Yesterday, I went to work with my pie and cookies. Around 11:15 am, we started putting food out. A lot of people were off so there was a small group, around 12. The newly appointed VP, and an old friend from RRS days, was off, but he was going to come in and bring the turkey. My boss was also off, but he was going to come in and bring a ham. Well, the ham got there, but the other guy didn’t order the turkey and struck out at Honey-Baked and Boston Market. So there wasn’t turkey at our Thanksgiving potluck. It was okay, there was plenty of lumpia! The cookies and pie were very well-received. There were leftovers so I brought them up here to LM.

We were told we could leave around 1pm, but I had a meeting so I ended up leaving around 2 pm. The roads were already crowded. I used Google maps to get me there the fastest, but it still took about 3 hours. I went on toll roads, side streets, and random freeways, but I was moving pretty much the whole time which is what I like. I detest sitting in traffic.

When I got here, things were a little tense because I was upset about something which made my mom upset. After things calmed down, it was fine. Mom made BLAT’s and Trader Joe’s mac ‘n’ cheese. We watched “Survivor” then I just went to bed around 10 pm. It was weird, it didn’t even occur to me about the blog until this morning!

Until later today!

weekends are becoming sacred space

I brought my laptop home with me this weekend. Like I’ve done previously, I had every intention to catch up on some work. But it’s almost 8 pm on Sunday night, and the bag never even got unzipped.

I’ve come to (or come back to) the idea of making the weekends mine. Like I mentioned yesterday, I have for too long, felt guilty about not doing more with my weekends, not being productive in my own mind. But you know what? I did laundry today. I cleaned out the fridge. I went grocery shopping and made dinner. I did the dishes. I even rearranged the bedroom. I also had “Parenthood” on nearly non-stop, and my phone got plenty of use from the game-playing. But even if I had spent all day in my pajamas and just read a book, that still would have been just right.

It’s about what I feel like doing at any given time. When I have this alone time, when Han and D are both gone, I have to luxuriate, or go out, or walk, or anything else.

I just got off the phone with my parents. My dad and I had an emotional talk, but a good one. He said something about how other people have it worse off and that he shouldn’t feel bad. I think that’s bullshit. Having pain, going through a down period, being sick, that’s what you’re dealing with and it’s real. Everybody has something. Comparing your pain to others and feeling unworthy or silly for feeling what you feel is negating yourself and what you are going through. All we can do is go through it. Reach out, talk, or write, draw, paint, sing, pet the dog. And if you’re in an up mode, empathize with those that are down. Or even if you are in a down mode, you can still empathize with others.

With the attacks in Paris on Friday, and the previous day’s attack in Beirut, it’s been very odd on social media. People are trying to make other people feel bad for showing solidarity with Paris and not Beirut. They’re re-posting news from earlier in the year to imply or outright say, what about this? Why weren’t you enraged by this attack and show your support for these victims? These attitudes are everywhere whether it’s about the LGBTQ community, peace for Paris, racism at Mizzou, #BlackLivesMatter, politics, religion. It seems like no matter what you do, with the best intentions, someone will find fault with it. I certainly don’t have the answers, but I try to follow the news. I try to follow my heart and express my concern, my empathy, what I feel is right. I try to stay away from debates and conflicts online and even in conversations. But it goes to my previous remarks about comparing pain. It’s pointless. There is pain. There is lots of pain in the world. Some people are assholes. Some people are kinder than average.

Which brings me back to the original subject/title of this post: sacred space. Find yours. Use it to recharge, to be better prepared to deal with the massive onslaught of images, words, and opinions of everyone. Be kind.

work, blood, other work, Blue Apron & other stuff

The first ‘work’ was therapy. I told my therapist that as I was sitting in the waiting room, it occurred to me that between sessions, I don’t often think about what we talk about. It’s so much easier to not. I know that’s why I quit going to therapy the first time. I didn’t want to do the work. My opinion about going to therapy has changed drastically over the years. I used to think it showed weakness. But that’s not true. It’s for people who need an objective ear, to help put things in perspective. Maybe I used to think it was easier to find perspective, or I did what many people do, just not think about it. Anyway, it was a good session.

While I was there, I remembered that the dermatologist (did I mention that I got a wee bit of vasculitis last month? I went straight for the steroids this time. All good!) had ordered some blood work, so I walked down to the lab. The phlebotomist said she needed more paper for the printer to print out all the labs I needed (!). I was surprised because I thought I remembered only seeing a couple things that were needed. I also had to do a urine sample. There’s just nothing good about doing that. Anyway, then she took about 8 vials of blood for a variety of tests. Okay then.

Off to work work. It was fine. Toward the end of the day, I was working on something and getting very confused and frustrated, so I called it a day. When I got home, waiting on the porch was a box from Blue Apron. I had actually forgotten to cancel the order for this week, but it’s okay because all of the recipes sounded good. I talked with Han for a while, then it was to the kitchen!

Tonight’s recipe was for seared pork with sauteed spinach and smashed potatoes. It was tasty. I had forgotten, though, that the portions are small. I mean, they’re probably exactly how much we’re supposed to have, but it’s not much. Anyway, it came out very well, and I think I would make it again on my own. The flavor combos of everything went perfectly together.

Tomorrow night, D is having a church group here at the house, so Han and I will get take out and let her have the run of the place. Thursday, I’ll probably make another Blue Apron meal: turkey steam buns w/ quick cucumber radish kimchi. The steam buns should be good, but I am not a fan of pickled stuff so I don’t know about the kimchi (plus cucumber, yuck!)

The last meal I’ll probably make this weekend, and I’m most excited about it: fresh fettuccine pasta w/ sugar snap peas & arugula pesto. Yum!

In tennis news, some quarterfinal matches were played, and Federer is out (good riddance you smug Swiss!) thanks to countryman, Stan Wawrinka, who advanced in three sets. Also through is Jo-Willie Tsonga, who I really like. The other two men’s quarterfinal matches should be awesome: Rafa vs Djokovic and Murray against Ferrer. Rafa is king of clay, but Novak has been great. I’d like to see Ferrer beat Murray. For the women, through to the semifinals is Ana Ivanovic and Safarova. Tomorrow, it’s my fav, Serena, who’s had a rough time getting this far, against Errani and two players I’ve never heard of: Bacsinszky (Swiss) against Van Uytvanck (Belgian).

I also wanted to mention some movies I want to see that are coming out soon. Part of the fun of going to the movies is seeing the trailers. I know that you can look them up online, but it doesn’t have the same impact. Here’s a brief list of movies I’d probably go to the theater to see (in no particular order) from commercials I’ve seen (I’m sure I’ll find others!):

1. Spy – I heart Melissa McCarthy
2. Jurassic World – see yesterday’s post
3. Inside Out – more Disney magic, plus Amy Poehler!
4. Trainwreck – Amy Schumer can do no wrong, plus Bill Hader!
5. Love & Mercy – biopic of Brian Wilson

Okay, that’s all I got tonight!