What the what. I am having a really hard time getting my shit together the last few days. Is it the weather, grey and damp? Have I hit a wall? Or have I had too much sleep? Words aren’t coming and my brain feels soft and spongy.

I look around and think, I should be writing, I should get the beans out of the garden, I should do yoga or go for a walk. I should finish the rag dolls I cut out, I should embroider some bookmarks like I’ve planned. I should finish my coffee and close the window against the soft rain that just started. I should brush my teeth and have a shower.

Instead I stare blankly out the window at the rain, count my chin hairs over and over, and develop a deep dislike of the word should.

Sea Change

Writing last night. I didn’t really want to be there, really. I didn’t bail though. Who knows what epiphanies I would miss, what would spark from someone else’s prose. It wasn’t easy. My internet was messed up, with just enough of a delay that made responding to anyone awkward, that after I read something the pause was long enough to make me think that it was crap, no one liked it and was trying to think of something good to say. (I know that’s not so, its just my brain being an asshole).

I did a fuck poem from one of the photo prompts. The photo was of what looked like embroidery or stitching, white/cream on a rust red background saying what fuckery is this. There were other pictures that called me, a river, a graffiti’d blue door set in old stonework, but I went with the fuckery, so I could write a fuck poem.

And for the first time, the fuck poem was very unsatisfying. It felt obvious. Instead of being a cathartic purge of the negatives, it only seemed to highlight them, and make them sink deeper into my skin, to become more real.

Fuck that Shit. (See what I did there)

I’m going to switch it up for a while, to write delight poems. Look away from all the little things that annoy and anger. Look towards those things that will help bring a lightness of being, that will make me smile and feel ready to combat the dark.

Delight x 19

Delight in the forsythia cuttings flowering as they take root in the green room.
Delight in the taste of sourdough French toast made by my dearest love, topped with maple syrup, berries and whipped cream.
Delight in the blue blue sky visible between the clouds scudding by.
Delight in the shimmer of glitter dust as it swirls around in a glass of Pilsner, giving the beer life and dimension.
Delight in the silence of the house, so quiet I can hear the soft snore of a sleeping cat.
Delight in the warmth inside.
Delight in the garden, in the alienness of the rhubarb unfurling itself pink stalk by pink stalk, each containing a knob of wrinked green leaf that slowly stretches to catch the sun.
Delight in a new writing space neither inside nor outside, but in a liminal loveliness where I can be in the outdoors without black flies and mosquitoes.
Delight in the garden taking shape under our hands, the overgrown thickets cut back and replanted, restoring an order that is pleasing to us.
Delight in the hammock outside under the magnolia tree.
Delight in the goldfinches, now almost fully yellow again, swooping and diving around the back.
Delight in the ominous grace of the turkey vultures soaring in the updrafts.
Delight in the little purple flowers that spill over the flower bed on the east side of the house, and pop up all over the lawn.
Delight in the first dandelions, yellow and bright.
Delight in the tight bud of a red tulip.
Delight in soft alpaca yarn running between my fingers as I knit, taking shape into a wide shawl to wrap around my shoulders against the spring chill.
Delight in the 100 Day Project progress, embroidered circles containing small benchmarks. This is not what I planned but it has morphed into something I need, not unlike the origins of the photo-a-day project.
Delight in the taste of a Hermit cookie, subtle spices and sweetness and memories of childhood and another little yellow house.
Delight in the how my body responds to manual labour, muscles easing and contracting as I shovel dirt from the trailer to the rock garden, the warmth and smoothness of the shovel handle in my hands.

Once upon a time

Once upon a time, there was a woman who thought she wasn’t creative. She knew she used to be, when she was younger, but a lot of us were other things when we were younger, before sex and productivity and consumerism narrowed our focus.

The woman knew she had skills, she had logic. She could program a computer, troubleshoot a problem, follow a pattern or a recipe. But talent? No. And you need talent to be creative, right?

Then one day, because a colleague had a crush on a TV star, the woman found herself in a room with a writer. Not just a writer, a writing coach. Not just a writing coach, a woman of easy charm and smiling eyes, who through writing a few simple lists, showed the woman that she is creative. That a skill practiced enough can be a talent. And that the purpose of creativity is to not be perfect.

Over the years, the woman worked with the writing coach, delighting in the layers of herself she found underneath the responsible adult. She learned to scribble in the pristine journals, to start anywhere other than at the beginning, to finish before the end. She learned that sometimes close enough really is good enough. And more importantly, the she learned that the knowledge that the first efforts will be crap is the exact reason to make those first efforts rather than the reason to never start.

Wabi sabi, bitches.

Judgey and preachy

Preachy and judgey.

And that’s just me to myself. Social media expands this. Expand your horizons. No, whatever you feeling is fine.

Witness this! No, not everything needs to be witnessed! Self care! No, look after others! No, stay home! And I could go off EI if I got paid by how much I had to listen to “when this is over” and “normal” and “new normal”.

Fuck. This. Shit.

All I can do is shut it off. No one wins, and it’s all just big a circle jerk with no happy ending, everyone leaves frustrated and tired.

You do you. I’m gonna do me.


It’s 9:18. I missed the Morning Coffee Sessions with Chris that started at 9.

Why did I miss it? Because I started watching a series of stupid Facebook videos and didn’t stop. Oo look, another one, maybe this one will be funnier than the last. Oooo and another. And another.

For fucks sake.

Well that was weird

I wrote a blog post that I was proud of (the previous one) and decided to share it. I put the link in my Instagram bio with a picture of my new list of fun things to do.

And then things got weird. I started to feel anxious, wonder who was going, was anyone commenting? I updated my StatCounter email and checked it a few times; only several visits from myself to check it and a recurring visitor from Dublin (*waves across the Atlantic). I got more anxious…what if they don’t like it? what if I open my soul, link to it, and no one reads it. Oh no, only 5 likes on the IG post!

And this, dear friends, was in the first hour after posting.

I took the link down, changed the IG post. This is not why I write here.

Feels like longer

It’s been just over two weeks since the Queen of Craft event where the reality of this began to hit me, this new reality of hand sanitizer, social distancing, Zoom video conferences and anxiety. Time has gone weird…feels like longer.

I’m anxious as fuck. I tell my anxiety to chill. We are lucky here, in our yellow house in the country. There are things to do, and it’s easy to stay away from other people and each other when we get one each other’s nerves. The snow is mostly melted away, and we can look forward to spending time outside in the garden. There is baking and sewing and knitting and writing and beer making and napping and reading. Keith has his motorcycle project in the garage. We are getting a taste of what retirement might be like. It’s good.

But there are days when the anxiety doesn’t chill. We are not ready to retire yet; I need to work for at least 7-10 more years. Will there be a brewing job for me when this all settles down? Will there be any job? What is the economic landscape going to look like? Will there be an opportunity to reshape the landscape into something better? Or will we be stuck with the same old same old that doesn’t really work for everyone anymore? What if, what if, what if.

Sshhhhh, I tell the anxiety and make it a cup of tea. All of this is well beyond my control, and no one knows how it’s going to play out over the next month, 6 months, year. Those are the days I just pick up my knitting and watch something goofy on Netflix (thanks Ren for Tiger Kings!)

I made a list of things I can do to occupy my mind during the day, things to distract or meditate on. It was loooooong list with the letters TO DO on the top in big block letters and numbered by importance. It was a stressful list. So many things, too many things! I couldn’t decide what to do, I just knew that I should be DOING SOMETHING.

Indecision and anxiety had me curled up on the couch for a few days, alternating between aimlessly swiping through aimless shit on my iPad and staring out the window. I wallowed. It’s ok that I did…it’s obviously what I needed to do. But it’s not sustainable. I got off the couch.

Now my list has no title, no numbered and ordered bulletin points. I look at it as suggestions, and give myself permission to pick what I feel like doing, and to stop when I don’t feel like doing it anymore. There is no real rush to complete anything in a day. Well, except for my photo a day blog. This has mutated into a gratitude blog, sorta kinda. It’s a work in progress.

I’m in the green room listening to it rain on the roof. It’s still a bit too chilly to use, but not if I’m layered up with a fuzzy blanket and fingerless mitts, and have the heater turned up high. There’s been a few rumbles of thunder, deep enough to make the windows rattle. The cats are unsettled by it but it makes me smile for a reason I can’t explain. There is birdsong from the back yard; blue jays, red-winged blackbirds, sparrows, and the occasional crow. Winter is over, the last of the snow is melting away.

Delights: many, Happiness: mellow.

It is night

I can’t tell you how or where exactly I ran across this line, but it has stuck in my head:

It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be.

Which in turn led me to google it to find out where it’s from. I found this on Google Books:

I am moved by it, but not by the mention of a religious deity. I 98% don’t believe in the G-word (the 2% is when I’m swearing, so I don’t think that counts anyway). I want to use it as a prayer in the “earnest hope and wish” definition of the word, so I changed it.

It is night.

The night is for stillness; let us be still.

It is night after a long day. What has been done has been done; what has not been done has not been done; let it be.

The night is dark. Let all our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest.

The night is quiet. Let the quietness of peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace.

The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, new possibilities.

It was fun while it lasted, but it’s over.

It’s been four weeks since… since what? I’m not even sure what to call this. The language for this life event seems inadequate.

I wasn’t fired, I was assured that it wasn’t me, I was doing a good job. I know this. Not laid off either as I’m sure there is no intention to hire me back, Let go? Don’t like that phrase, as it implies they where holding on in the first place. It seems a bit passive anyway. Employment terminated is very cold and clinical. There are joke-y terms: the old heaved-ho, the bums rush, given my walking papers. I don’t feel like joking right now. I’ve been saying FUNemployment but really, there is nothing fun about it. The one I especially dislike is “lost my job”.

I didn’t lose my job. I know exactly where it is. Someone else is doing it.

There was a word the CEO kept saying like it was an explanation as he walked me from the brew house to the room where the HR person waited: restructuring. I don’t much like that word either, but I guess it works better than anything else.

I am the victim of Side Launch’s restructuring.

No, I don’t know what it means. No, I wasn’t the only one let go that day. Yes, they made the other brewer, the head brewer, a victim of restructuring too. Yes, they gave me a good severance package, a generous one. Yes, I was assured it’s just business. And no, I don’t know anymore than that. Yes, I have theories, but they are just that; you can draw your own conclusions.

And no, I am not ok in general. I am sometimes ok-ish though.

It’s a pretty paradoxical time actually. I’ve been good. I’ve been not so good. I’ve been OK. I’ve been terrible. I understand that it’s just business. I wondered what I did wrong (nothing). I’ve been resentful af. I’ve felt resigned. I felt hopeful. I’ve been scared I will not find another job in my field. I’m confident I will. I feel strong and capable. I’ve felt ike I’m going to shatter into a million pieces. I want to stay active and busy, finding things to occupy my time – a part time job, volunteering, knitting, visiting. I also want to crawl under the covers and come out a few days later blotchy and tear-stained. I hope that the powers that be at Side Launch know what they’re doing and the company will be successful for the sake of my friends who still work there. But there’s a small dark part of my heart where the hope is that they founder and fail. I am grateful for my time there and would not trade the experience of the last two years for anything. I also kinda wish I’d taken the other job that was offered to me at the time. I’ve had people I barely know reach out and offer my sympathy and support. I’ve had close friends I love go radio silent (it’s ok; I don’t know what to say to me either). I want to use this time to reach out and connect with people. But I can’t seem to pick up the phone. I want to write because I know I will feel better if I do. Alas, even five minutes of free writing is a struggle. It’s taken me five tries to finish this bloody blog post.

There are three things I have been most grateful for over the last four weeks. First and foremost is Keith. He’s not a demonstrative man and needs to be reminded to hold me when I’m anxious, but he loves me and supports me. He reassures me we’re going to be fine, and proves it by being the same as he always is. He’s not letting me wallow, and is good with making tea and tea cookies and self care suggestions.

Second: I am very grateful for my communities. My beer network has been full of hugs and well wishes, suggestions and job leads. My friends and neighbours have been wonderful with texts and coffee visits and casual dinners filled with candlelight and laughter. Everyone has shit going on in their life, and I appreciate any time spent on helping me deal with this big shit in mine atm.

Lastly, I am grateful to my past self. I’d hate to think what the last four weeks would have looked like if I hadn’t made a commitment last March to look after my mental health. I am not ashamed to say that I have seen a psychiatrist this year, and as a result take citalopram to dial back the panic, the anxiety and anger to liveable levels. I can feel the anxiety now, every waking moment, especially at night when the over-thinking makes sleep hard to find. But I can keep a lid on it.

And that’s not nothing, as a friend would say.

Let me preface this part by saying I’m not a huuuuge believer in the tarot. I think it gets it wrong as much as right, and some spend a lot of thought into shoehorning the wrong readings into their situation. But I like the symbolism of the cards, and feel that often you can pull something relevant for yourself, even if it’s only inspiration for some fiction free writing. I just got a deck I quite like, the Modern Witch Tarot, which is the old Rider-Waite deck with a female-centric modern twist.

I was shuffling and breaking in the new deck on the second or third sleepless night, thinking about my new employment status when this card flipped over:

Everything is Fine

It seemed so apropos for the moment, I had to laugh.

It’s now three+weeks past that, and I’ve been in a bit of daze. I’ve been productive, but also vague and distant and feeling not-quite-here. The anger has faded somewhat, and left a heaviness, a depression in it’s place. I don’t like this stage, and woke up feeling like it’s time to get active and work on getting past it. To all those who are now saying, don’t rush it, feel the feels, I say sshhhhh. I want to see the small delights again.

I pulled a card today for shits and giggles. Again, it seems to fit the moment.

Excelsior, my dad would say, onward and upward.