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routine/ritual



Do we create structure in our lives to give them a shape? Do we fear that without a routine or framework of some sort, we are at risk for losing track of all that is relevant and as a result, getting nothing done to support those things? Or would we be more aware of what matters if we didn’t worry so much about staying on a specific track. What’s that saying — “not all who wander are lost” — and that other one about going off the beaten path and finding something better? Yes, okay. But that immediately makes me think of Picasso saying that inspiration likes to find us working.

I’ve always craved and needed order to not feel at loose ends. I’ve never thrived in a messy environment, and I’m constantly organizing this and that, whether this and that is a bookshelf or an abstract concept like space or hope. I always want to know what the elements are so I can sort them and get rid of what isn’t essential, or at least put everything in its proper place to try to control the inevitable chaos. I also know that how I spend my time is in many ways what makes me who I am, and I have to be careful with my days. I like to be disciplined but being dictatorial makes me miserable. Where is the line?

I do think there’s a sweet spot between the two, floating between the hypervigilance and the lackadaisical. Not that many of us can run around all willy nilly all the time, and not that many of us would even want to after the novelty wore off, but I can tell you a way in which I’ve changed since I first wrote about this topic of ritual/routine a year ago (on January 8): I threw away that productivity planner I had (I just make a regular to do list now) and I’m so glad I did. Lo and behold, I didn’t quit doing what I needed and wanted to do, but I have been working on being more flexible in the way that I do it. I didn’t miss the added task of writing down the things I’m grateful for, but I’m somehow more mindful that I have an embarrassment of riches in my life because I am more naturally taking the time to just think about them. Maybe writing all of those things down for that period trained me to do it in shorthand. Or maybe I’m just a year older and have let go of some ridiculousness that I was holding onto and I’m letting myself enjoy life more and am quite into it, thank you very much. I’m learning that if I don’t schedule spontaneity completely out of the picture, which allows for not only creativity in work but in every aspect of life, I might even be more everything I want to be if I develop cultivating free time as a skill because it makes me happier. Meditation, time spent in thought or prayer, and taking more time for nurture seems to have an effect.

I do still, however, have a pretty regimented routine. But I think it’s the increased time for personal ritual that has given that routine a more polymorphous quality. Among my many blessings is that my work allows for that. Among my many blessings is the ability to remain curious about life and the world around me and how I can better relate to it. Among my biggest blessings is the providence that is returned to me when I can be open. I believe it’s much easier to receive when we’re ready to.

May we all live openly.

Happy Wednesday, Y’all.

AM

PS. I do love a list. For some great ones, check out this piece on Susan Sontag in Lithub today. And here’s Umberto Eco’s beautiful book on the subject.

And here’s a great Murakami quote about the discipline of writing, also from Lithub:

Cultivate endurance.

After focus, the next most important thing for a novelist is, hands down, endurance. If you concentrate on writing three or four hours a day and feel tired after a week of this, you’re not going to be able to write a long work. What’s needed for a writer of fiction—at least one who hopes to write a novel—is the energy to focus every day for half a year, or a year, or two years. You can compare it to breathing.

–from What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

growth

I apparently began 2018 thinking big thoughts. The title from January 3 last year is growth. Tackling such a concept was a bold move. But bold is a relative term, just as growth is, its meaning shifting in shade with the context in which it is presented.

It seems we cannot help but grow if we’re participating, and I certainly did my share of stretching in the past year. But I am now presenting myself with the task of figuring out exactly how and where it occurred. Was it outward growth, as in the type that would occur from my edges? Was it from reaching toward something external? Or was it inward growth, as in the type that would occur in my center from reaching to my own depths, feeling around toward something more truly me? Did I do both? Is there such a thing as one without the other? Maybe it doesn’t matter. Look up a year from now and you’ll probably be different from how you are today, even in the most subtle ways. Maybe how you got there isn’t the point, but it might be at least some of it, if only for learning’s sake, in case you want to do it again.

I can reach for something that is out of my grasp. But if I haven’t made an alteration in my center in order to accommodate an outward change, will it last? I can decide to exercise every day in hopes that I will be healthier and look better, but if I haven’t made that decision because I’m interested in doing my best for myself, hence the need for being healthier and looking better, will the decision stick?

A year ago I wanted to learn how to get more done, be more organized, be friendlier, get more sleep, develop healthier eating habits, just be better overall. I reflect and see that I did some of those things, those external things. But when I think about how I got to them, I land right in the middle of 2018, when I hit an emotional wall and had to get simultaneously severe and really gentle with myself. Everything about where I was demanded that I look at how I’d gotten there. Everything about where I was demanded that I learn one really hard lesson — do not ignore your inner voice.

Now, my inner voice is complicated. I often want to ignore her because she doesn’t always tell me the things I want to hear and she can be mean to boot and even sometimes seemingly insane. But some time around the fourth of July she got loud enough that I had to reckon with her. If she had real hands she’d have taken me by the shoulders, pushed me down into a chair in the middle of an empty room, locked the door, and lectured me until I couldn’t tune her out anymore. I started listening in a real way, and the loudest message I got was, do not ever accept less than you deserve ever again.

That was tough to hear and it still is, because it requires that I stand up for myself, set limits in my life and relationships, give myself the gift of time and space — in essence, it requires that I send all the love I possess to my own soul first before I go scattering it about over the sources that I think need it. That’s hard for anyone. For someone who was raised in chaos like I was, it’s damn near impossible. Children of addicts are told to ignore what they see, hear, and most importantly, what they feel. But so what? I knew it wasn’t negotiable. I didn’t want to walk around feeling at odds with myself anymore. I didn’t want to demand so much of myself without ever giving any nurture to the place where all the demands’ needs are met — my heart, my brain, and my body. I didn’t want to deny truths of any sort anymore, even if the world makes it incredibly difficult to be honest, sometimes most of all with ourselves.

So I spent a ton of time in therapy. I exercised a lot. I tried to rest and sleep more. I tried to laugh as much as possible. I cried more than I probably have during any other calendar year. I did some really hard emotional healing, I have way more to do, and came to terms with knowing there isn’t a finish line in that particular marathon. I let myself feel and told myself that it was okay. I meditated. I wrote. I got really sick of turning the rocks over. I reached inward. But guess what? I’m better than I was a year ago. I’m ultimately happier and I like myself more. So I suppose that’s growth even if I can’t measure it with some yardstick made for tangible things — human beings waver in their progress, sometimes it’s two steps forward one step back or even two or God forbid, three — but I feel better, more relaxed, happier, more open, more quick to laugh and cry and even sometimes more calmly speak my mind (still working on equanimity but we all have our challenges). And best of all, I have more love inside of me, probably because I finally know the real stuff has to start with me. That’s pretty bold indeed.

Happy Wednesday, Y’all. And may 2019 hold plenty of reaching in whatever directions we wish.

AM

2019

For the year of 2019, I’ve decided to change my blog post day from Monday to Wednesday. I’m going to be revisiting last year’s topics in attempt to measure my own changes and lack thereof during the time that has passed since I wrote 2018’s. So this week’s entry will again take the title of “growth,” which first appeared on January 3, 2018. Each week’s entry will follow accordingly. I want to possibly expand, or even zoom in on the initial thought and see where I am with it now, a year later.

I started doing these posts as an experiment, as a practice, and as a way to try to communicate with whoever wanted to listen. I’m so glad I did. Even a thing as small as it is gives me guardrails in my writing life and in my life period because I’ve vowed to be as honest as possible in this space and to share that honesty with all of you. I’m delighted every time I hear from someone that they read my entries, and even more so when they tell me that something I’ve shared has meant something to them. 

I will keep the hour long time limit for writing. Not only do I not have more time to give to it right now, but I think that part of the practice keeps me honest as well. I can’t edit myself too much, or overthink as I would with something I fear would be judged in a harsher light. This part of the practice knocks my inner perfectionist out the window during that block of time, which is good for me. I always let her back in the door when she comes back, because I need her and think she should mostly be obeyed, but perfection isn’t what these missives are about. I thank you all for understanding that.

And I wholeheartedly thank you for visiting this space. It means the world to me.

Happy Monday, Y’all.

AM

resolve/resolution

I’ve been turning over these two words in my brain all day. Their similarities, their differences. Is resolve the same thing as resolution? 

To resolve is to settle or find a solution to something (solve is in the root of the word itself, of course, and I want to examine the re part but I remember I only have an hour here), to go from discord to harmonic concord musically, to heal, to fix the problem. The latin origin is solvere, meaning to loosen. In the noun form, having resolve is to have commitment, a firmness in feeling or thought, which to me is the opposite of loosening, right? In a way, yes, in another, no — depends on what your personal parameters are. Sometimes the loosest and most free one can be is when they are absolutely certain about something and waver not an inch. 

Resolution is a decision to do or not do something, or having the quality of being determined or resolute. Same latin origin — solvere — meaning to loosen. 

So let’s see: A resolution, or having resolve, is ultimately a solvent to whatever is the matter at hand, and a solvent is a loosener. Same root. Yes, I had to make that come together for myself. Thanks for your patience.

All of that came from thinking about what I want to resolve in the coming year. I don’t exactly know what I want to make better or change in concrete terms — I think goals are great and we need them — but I often find that when I focus on the black and white quality of something I must do lest I be considered a failure, I miss the growing that occurred while I was trying to get to the finish line. So I decided to make a list of the things I don’t want to do in 2019. I’m about to get real honest.

  • I resolve not to punish myself for my sometimes momentarily crippling anxiety. I have a lot to be anxious about and I’m tired of telling myself and others that I don’t. I also resolve not to push through it with negative self-talk, and instead remind myself that I am in charge of almost exactly nothing and that my need for control is what causes most of the anxiety in the first place.
  • I resolve not to let myself believe that I am not a good enough mother. There.
  • I resolve not to dread aging, even though I am forty-six and a half years old and am in the throes of peri menopause and it is a grizzly bear. No, it is Medusa. No, it is Satan’s leashed to a pole beside my bed sweathog’s breath radiating in and around my confused body. It boils me from the inside and reduces me to a quivering, greasy, broken out, internally and sometimes externally pudgy hot mess that considers herself suddenly irrelevant and over the hill. Then five minutes later, I’m skipping down the street having broken free of said sweathog and I am fan-fucking-tastic. Pass the ice pack and vodka, please.
  • I resolve not to tell myself that I’m not smart enough, attractive enough, stylish enough, or thin enough.
  • I resolve not to be as selfish with my time as I need to be and to not give away everything I have without first giving everything I can to myself.
  • I resolve not to not go to the doctor when I need to.
  • I resolve not to argue with the unreasonable, even when the unreasonable is me.
  • I resolve not to not listen.
  • I resolve not to not see.
  • I resolve not to tell myself I don’t need to be heard.
  • I resolve not to allow myself not to be seen.
  • I resolve not to take less than I deserve.
  • I resolve not to not love every minute that it is possible even when it is the last thing that I want to do and the hardest thing I can imagine, and resolve not to forget that if I am stingy with love for myself, I deprive others of it.
  • I resolve not to not reach out to my friends when I am lonely, and I resolve not to assume that they know when I am.
  • I resolve not to wait on someone to call me first.
  • I resolve not to tell myself that something is impossible or even not worthwhile. It is all possible and it is all worthwhile.
  • I resolve not to focus on the time I’ve used up, rather on the fact that I may not see 2020. 
  • I resolve not to reduce my accomplishments. I’ve done a lot.
  • I resolve not to rest on my laurels. I need and want to do a lot more.
  • I resolve not to worry so much about all of that and be the artist that I am and trust that if my intentions are in the right place, I will be on the right path.
  • I resolve not to not resolve, every day, all the time. That’s just the way it is.

Happy Monday, and Happy New Year, Y’all.

AM

restoration

When there is no more sage or parsley in the refrigerator. When there are no more clean desert plates. When all of the ham is in a Ziploc. When the extra lemon squares have been sprinkled with fresh confectioner’s sugar and neatly arranged into twine wrapped waxed paper packages for the guest’s departures. When the tablecloth and napkins have been laundered. When the mental notes have been made of where the boxes are in the attic so the decorations can be taken down and put away as soon as they can be but not today because that would make one appear hasty and grinch-like. When the throat is sore and the energy and excitement have all been depleted, there is quiet, solitude, and respite. These things too must be taken seriously.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season.
Peace and Love,
AM

softness

 

It’s tough out there. H. told me that on his way to the taxi stand at the airport last night there was so much car honking that he felt anxious and wanted to react in some way — to shout at the honkers, to admonish them for creating such a cacophony. Of course he didn’t. He is not that way.

I’m ashamed to admit that sometimes I am that way. I have attempted, for most of my adult life, to be measured in my approach to how I deal with the world, but the world has sometimes gotten the better of me and I have responded to its harshness with my own, stirred up from the depths of a less than solid sense of place and belonging. Stirred up by fear. I have lacked the equanimity that I have simultaneously craved. I have mistakenly thought that a blow deserves a blow back, a scowl deserves a smart, shaming retort, knee-jerk opinions deserve a shouting down. Meh. I’m learning. Some battles you fight, and some battles you refuse.

These days I’m much more interested in what happens if I let it pass. What would happen if I learned to breathe, to center myself, to be kind to myself and quiet my own fears about what occurs outside of my skin and let idiots just be idiots without input from me? It certainly won’t change anything about what’s going on past my fingertips. But maybe it will change what happens inside of me. I did a google search on forgiveness. One article suggested a mantra of, “I decide to let these things go.” I have written that sentence down every day for months now. Maybe as a result of that simple action or maybe not, I am much more interested in how light a touch I can bring to something now IF I can remember to manage my own knee jerk. I know what a forceful one will bring. The language we use these days — kill it, crush it — no, no, no. That all sounds like something I don’t want to do.

I’m thinking about this a lot right now. This time of year brings us so much pressure and stress — I’m trying to refuse to participate in that this year. I want to have a smile on my face and not have it be tightened by tension. I want to not react without thinking or do without intention. I think it might all be okay if I don’t manage to get the perfect gift for someone or provide the ultimate instagrammable experience for those I’m sharing the holidays with. I will do some cooking, some ordering, some whipping up of tablescapes and lighting schemes, but I want so badly to do it with lightness, happiness, and no have to. Have to creates a lot of not want to for me. Maybe I’m just stubborn that way. Regardless, I know my triggers. I know in which direction my personal river flows. I won’t be able to change the trajectory, but I’ve had enough of it rushing through, over, and past like it has a dam to break somewhere up ahead.

A compassionate consideration, a thoughtful and empathetic response, or maybe even no response at all sounds like an easier way to go than using a hammer on every supposed nail. Life is hard. Why should I be hard too?

Happy Monday, Y’all.

AM

PS — I have one tip to offer. If you find you’re becoming anxious or irritated, picture the person who’s doing the offending as a two-year-old. Then picture them gone for good. Reset. Might come in handy these next ten days or so…

 

Photo credit: Kristen Barlowe

thread

A thread runs from my heart to another. It expands and contracts as needed for distance, literal or figurative, as it winds around our lives, always keeping us connected. Where did it begin? Where does it end? It does neither.

To think of how small I am in the big scheme of things is overwhelming. It can seem as if I do not matter because I am only one person and I am here for such a short amount of time. I am sitting on a blue ball in the middle of space, surrounded by stars and openness, after all. I am only a tiny speck, no matter how I try not to be. Yet I get to become large when I experience the miracle of love, compassion, and understanding. I get to matter when I weave myself into relationships, sometimes frustrating and heartbreaking, sometimes rewarding like nothing else can be, and always complex, but also always the mirror that I need and, whether I admit it or not, that I am seeking.

I forget the thread sometimes. All of this running around can seem, some days, to add up to nothing when I remember that every one of us returns to the dust from which we came. I feel disconnected.

But then I am reminded somehow. And I see that the thread cannot be lost, even by death, because once it’s sewn through me, I am changed.

lululululu

I listened to Vince Guaraldi’s, “Christmas Time is Here,” today. It’s my favorite holiday tune. When I hear it, Christmas seasons of childhood flood my mind — all it takes is a few bars of the intro and it all comes back.

 

A Charlie Brown Christmas, the best holiday cartoon in my opinion, for which the song and album were created, was vastly more interesting and exotic to me than the usual fairy tales for which I had to suspend disbelief when I was little. The Peanuts gang lived in a world the likes of which I’d never been to, but could easily identify with and imagine.  

 

It didn’t seem outlandish that no adults were ever seen and that even their voices presented no discernable directions to do this or that. There were only children who seemed to live in walking distance from each other and who kept each other in close company and counsel. Such a scenario was utterly intriguing and attractive because where I lived, in the middle of nowhere, there were no other children around at all save for my sister. And I admittedly could’ve done without most of the adult voices I had to hear and all of the unpredictability and ugliness that often came with them.

Then, there was poor, lonely, furrowed brow Charlie’s ever-present existential crisis and his search for the true meaning of Christmas, with which I heavily identified. There was no one-dimensional presentation of happiness or expectation that everyone put a smile on their face in Hennepin County, and no one seemed to deny the emptiness that can hover around the holidays. I’d felt it myself in South Alabama and appreciated the recognition of the complexity of my emotions and that they were no less multifaceted than any adult’s. Charlie Brown’s world seemed to be one in which children had at least a semblance of agency, which was something I wanted for myself desperately.

 

But most importantly, there was the jazz. Sweet Baby Jesus, there was jazz! Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack made such a world seem possible. It was the perfect music to go with the yes, elevated but absolutely correct notion that children are not just small, unformed beings with no thoughts or problems of their own. I loved it. It was somehow melancholy, but decidedly untreachly and smart. It was emotional shorthand for what I felt but also for what I wanted to feel. What I wanted to feel was different from the way that I did. Hearing “Oh Tannenbaum,” and “The Little Drummer Boy,” interpreted in a new way let some light and air into my world by taking what was familiar and giving it a new context, therefore new possibilities. The music transported me to a place in my imagination where people wore suits and dresses instead of jeans

 and sneakers on Christmas Day, and clinked wine glasses instead of Budweiser cans. I imagined I could one day go ice skating on a frozen pond, feel snow falling onto my fingers and my tongue while standing on a city sidewalk, and go to the lot to pick out my very own tree just like Charlie. It allowed me to dream of that something different that I knew was out there, that something more elegant and refined, that something that would support my wish for my own agency and my own kind of Christmas.

 

Interesting that my favorite thing to listen to during the holidays has no lyrics to speak of. But as a friend said to me the other day, “That record sounds like I feel.”  I don’t need to hear words. Just a few bars of the intro and it all comes back.

repair

The skin on my left hand is in tatters and has been for a few months now. I struggle with eczema — just on my hands for some reason — and it can be seriously painful, not to mention embarrassing and ugly. It popped up a few years ago and I can’t quite get it under control. I’ll get one hand sorted out and then the dreaded itch and redness will start on the other. Emotional stress doesn’t help the situation (some suggest stress is the actual cause), nor does constantly having my hands in water (I have an eight-year-old with special needs, so do the math on that one). I lotion, I oil, I massage, I look for remedy after remedy, and I still cringe at the way the split open places feel  — my skin literally comes apart — as I try to function through it. I’ll button my son’s pants and discover my finger is bleeding a minute later. I should buy stock in bandaids. Okay, enough description ’cause I know it’s gross. The cycle of disintegration and healing is frustrating for me, but I’ve sort of gotten used to it and try to be patient with my body’s vulnerability, trusting that it will eventually heal itself if I give it as much outside help as possible and that I’ll get a respite before the next episode. We can get used to almost anything, can’t we?

Words related to healing fly around freely these days. You know them — self-care, restore, rejuvenate, cleanse, detox — they’re part of an industry. And I’m all for that, save for the wear and tear on my ears from the overuse of such terms and the resulting emptiness that can sometimes inhabit them from that careless employment. Sacred acts such as taking care of ourselves deserve more than pop culture faddishness, but I am heartened by the turn of attention toward the need for slowing down, taking a minute, and nurturing ourselves so that we have something to give others and understanding that if we don’t do that we have zero to offer, or at least only a stockpile of resentment for our own over-extension.

If you’re bleeding, put the bandaid on before you ruin everything.

For me, I have to remember to make time to pick up a needle and thread to work on whatever project I’ve got going (the accompanying photo for this post is one of my headboard — specifically chosen so that I can embroider words on it. I went so far as to put those good ones from the genius Louise Bourgeois there to remind me). To spend some time reading and being quiet and not paying attention to the chirp of a device. To take ten minutes for a cup of tea and truly engaged conversation. To good god almighty go to bed and get some sleep.

I wrote this down this morning: “My heart is always in a state of repair.” And it struck me as quite possibly the most factual sentence that has ever come out of me. Aren’t we all always healing something? We arrive home from having been out in the world and we need a minute — we sit down, exhale, and begin the process from recovering from whatever assault we experienced outside of our nests so we can go do it again. We lick our wounds from an argument or unsuccessful interaction with our mates, we get over it, so we can do it again. We say a prayer when we watch other kids stare at ours when they notice he acts differently from the way that they do, wipe our tears before he sees, and tell ourselves we are strong enough to get not only him but our own souls through it meanwhile hoping that his heart won’t need as much mending as ours does. We’re constantly returning to our corners so we can get back in the ring.

Sometimes it feels like everything requires a deep breath.

And it might. But that realization brings a smile to my face. Writing down that my heart is always repairing itself gives me a lot of hope, because I’m incredibly grateful that it can do such a thing and that it knows how to do its own work given the opportunity. Human beings are incredible. We try, and we try, and we keep trying. It’s a beautiful thing to watch even in, and sometimes mostly in, the smallest gestures. We get up each day, if we’re lucky, and we try. We repair what is broken. We lotion, we oil, we massage, we look for remedy after remedy and sometimes yes we still get broken open in our vulnerable spots. But because we can repair, we can hope. And hope is the single most important resource our oh so resilient souls give us.

Happy Monday, Y’all.

AM

baggage (in honor of the holiday season)

I gotta tell you I’m not exactly in love with holiday season. I’m sure you’re not exactly surprised to hear that.

I’ve been doing emotional work regarding my family of origin for quite some time, years even, but never as intensively as I have this year. That has been for a few reasons. Mostly, it’s been because I’m tired of dragging around other people’s funkiness (as my newfound guide at Onsite calls it) and I would very much like to identify what belongs solely to me so that I can travel through this world a bit more (okay, a lot more) lightly.

I’ve never been under the impression that my specific circumstances were special or extraordinary. Everyone has at least a tugboat of childhood (and beyond) stuff to haul around, and usually the requisite barge behind it. All that pulling gets tiring. I’m exhausted from it and want to unhook myself, and am trying to actively do just that. It isn’t easy to undo the chains, the bonds, the ties, whatever you want to call them. Most of us are sentimental and don’t know how to say goodbye to it all, even if we know we need to. We’re at least creatures of habit who’d rather do anything but change, again, even if we know we need to. But what we don’t let go of eventually sinks us no matter how strong we are. And what we aren’t aware and super wary of, we repeat.

 

Nothing stirs it all up like holidays. We get to hook all of our baggage together! Stack it up in a nice big pile and such to trip over and ignore. We return easily to ingrained patterns if we decide to go the family route. If we choose to create our own traditions, aren’t we in danger of pitching a turd into the punch bowl of life (Hi – have we met)? It’s sort of damned if you do and damned if you don’t for me, it seems. I hate ignoring elephants that have gotten inside the house but also don’t desire upsetting anyone because I don’t want to act like it’s all fine when it’s not. I work hard at doing my own thing and at standing up for it, but have yet to escape the guilt that is served up like a heavy, double helping of cornbread dressing, in return for my stabs at individuation. It occurs to me that maybe I’m just not a traditionalist. I prefer to have brunch and go to the movies on both Thanksgiving and Christmas Day if my son isn’t with me. Maybe I long too much for what I never really had, and if I did have it, it certainly wasn’t for very long, and I don’t know how to really deal with and accept the grief I feel about my truncated childhood and devastated, decimated* family. Regardless, these days can be tough. But they roll around every year no matter what. And for that reason, I do try to make the best of them. A grinch I am not.

I think I’m looking for some real meaning in it all, not just a list of things that we do because they’re just what we always do and no one really understands why. I don’t want a menu that must be repeated year after year,  because I guess I don’t exactly find comfort in the old. That’s precisely what I’m trying not to do – repeat the old. The old isn’t always great, or even good. Sometimes it’s time to be finished futzing with it and get on to making something new.

Whatever your situation this holiday season, take it easy on yourself. It’s alright to feel agitated, irritated, lonely, and sad if you in fact do. In all honesty, I often feel those things in spades. I’m going to try to remember to take a minute when I need to – to take a deep breath while I try to remember we’re all just passing through here. There will come a year, sooner than I’d like it to, when someone will be missing that wasn’t from the one before. I know I’ll never see holiday season 2018 again. So I’m going to try to enjoy it the best I can, and do it without feeling weighed down, as close to in my own unique way as I’m allowed, and with love and patience for us all. Mostly for myself. And I hope the only funkiness I’m dragging around is James Brown’s Christmas record.

Happy Tuesday, y’all.

AM

PS – sorry I’m a day late. I’ll post about that when I’m ready. There is, however, a clue embedded in this one.

PSS – we’re getting ready to decorate the house in preparation for it all.

*yes, I do know the definition of decimated.