• Notes from an Asthmatic with Anxiety during a Coronavirus Outbreak

    My sweetie, she doesn’t always get my sense of humor. Or she does, but judges it at times either worthy of a groan or the evil eye. Lately, it’s been more the latter, with a good bit of ‘take it back’ thrown in. The reason is the topic: being an asthmatic during a respiratory virus outbreak. I swear to the flying spaghetti monster that if NPR mentions one more time how people with preexisting conditions are effectively screwed and might as well toss themselves on the Black Plague cart (insert Monty Python joke here…”I’m not dead!”) I’m going to, well, I mean, I dunno, write a very firmly worded complaint.…

  • Picasso, Genius, and Other Misconceptions

    There’s a new show on Hulu called Genius. The first season followed Einstein’s life, and the second is following Picasso’s, following a format where each episode switches back and forth between a chronological telling of the life from birth, and the life in older age, generally around 60 or so. Both men lived around the same time, more or less. Both old ages dealt with Nazi Europe. Both youth’s dealt with visionary minds in a world that was not built for nor appreciated visionary minds. Both men raised their metaphorical (and sometimes not so metaphorical) middle fingers at all the odds and the bad mouthers and convention and insistently, obsessively,…

  • Zebras, Nails and Other Overcomplications

    My sweetie said something to me recently. “When you see a four legged animal, see a horse, not a zebra.” And, if this were in regards to art, or imagination, or living a generally colorful life, that would be terrible advice. However, it’s about none of those things. It’s about, specifically, in this instance, the fact that my life long asthma has been working as much overtime as a workaholic firefighter on a multi week string of 24 hour shifts, and we’ve been freaking out about it a bit. Because this isn’t something that happens. In fact, in the 10 years we’ve been together, as she pointed out well before…

  • Sanity Ritual: Journaling

    The brain is a funny thing. Everyone, as far as I’ve noticed, has their sanity rituals. Things they do, whether they’re aware of it or not, that keep centered. Keep them clear and present and in a relatively even mood. And the reason I say that the brain is a funny thing, is that inevitably we’ll stray away from those things-we’re busy, we get caught up in life, etc etc-and then we wonder why we’re so crabby and empty-brained and dark-mooded, because the brain somehow forgets, over and over, not only what keeps it happy but that it feels other than how it feels in the moment. Sometimes, we’re way,…

  • Important Reminders

    Fellow artists, fellow work-from-home-ers, fellow introverts, fellow misanthropic lovers and anxiety addicts, I’ve learned an important, vital lesson today: You really, really need to get the heck out of the house. On a regular basis. Preferably every time you need to work. Ok, ok, so you’ll say things like “Well, waitaminute, that’s a bit overly general, I quite like my home office, I do quite well in it and get regular socialization and am still well rounded and well adjusted.” Right, which is why in this particular blog post, I’m not addressing you. Good for you. Well done. I’m genuinely jealous of your well adjusted-ness in this facet of life.…

  • The Importance of Ritual

    To make the point that is the point of this post, I need to illustrate with a personal story. My sweetie and I, in an effort to cold turkey clean up our health in a desperate gambit against sloth, stress and age, and joined in by my mom and sort of by my dad, have decided to go for a month without any alcohol, fried foods, white grains, or white sugar, and drinking an approximate crap-ton of what they call ‘sassy water’ which is water with cucumber (bleh), lemon, mint and ginger. Added to this, I decided to lean into this whole thing, and I added a rather radical screen…

  • Uranus Retrograde, or Playing Catch with a Runaway Mind

    I’m sitting here on a Sunday afternoon while my very type-A, productive, industrious sweetie wrecks the kitchen doing 50 things with chickpeas, making kombucha (no really, she calls it ‘the buch’, and today’s is her third batch), making a flower arrangement from yard flowers, meal prepping for the week, and generally going toe to toe with her doubts, fears and issues, shaking their hand, sitting them firmly on the couch and moving on. Because she’s like that, and able to do that. Unlike others of us who come face to face with the same, listen to their 5 day long monologue, take another 10 days to think about it, agree…

  • The Ghost

    There’s a common idea of what anxiety looks like. Panic attacks, outwardly loud fear in your head, strong physical reactions. Sweat. Incessant thoughts. And yes, anxiety is that, sometimes. But. I always say that ones demons are going to be just as smart, just as savvy, going to sound as reasonable as you are. And in some cases, sometimes, that goes for anxiety too. Anxiety can learn, and grow, and get better at it’s game. So sometimes anxiety is quiet, very convincing, and sounds like a rational voice arguing about how silly it is to go out and spend money unnecessarily, that there’s a lot to do around the house,…

  • Staying Afloat

    Life sometimes gets…heavy. And sometimes it’s tricky to talk about because it feels weird to be complaining when you can’t count your blessings on both hands and both feet. There’s this common misconception that the blessings neutralize out the heaviness and stress. And we might intellectually know that this isn’t true, but it’s hard to really internalize that anyways. So then you feel ungrateful and unmindful, and, still, stressed and hopeless and possibly depressed, almost definitely anxious. Lately, my wife has been spending her spare time reading the increasingly common articles coming out every day about the ecological disaster we’re all either ignoring or completely in the dark about how…

  • Rainy Days and the Tao

    It’s currently 65 degrees here in Charlotte, NC, where I am. It’s overcast, and it’s been raining off and on for a few days. Unusual, especially considering that a few weeks ago it hit 100, which really is never supposed to happen around here, and it’s been hovering between 87 and 90 during the day in recent weeks. It’s still too early in the summer to be keening for the fall, but I always appreciate this weather. It’s the poet in me, I suppose. There’s something about a gray, rainy cool day that’s somehow comforting. It brings up the warm blanket in you, and the dimlit corner everyone has to…