COFFEE CUPS: 2021 tHE BERKSHIRES, STILL

So close to what’s next I can see and feel it. I am four days from my second vaccine shot, I am then ten days to breaking out. I planned my first international trip in two years yesterday.

The waiting feeling has settled, the wanderlust waking up.

I know I will look back on this year of slower days, my close family 24/7 as a gift. My mother is 90 and my nephew is on the edge of childhood and tweendom.

The deep sadness, the disconnection is already fading and being replaced by a sense that, if I look deeply enough, I will see the good in the slow down – that elusive silver liner. Call this annoying, or call this surviving, but the ability to find the sparkle has seen me through 49 and 1/2 magical years. I lose it constantly but when I find it again, it’s even better for the discovery.

I have been trying to take time off from my day hustle, watch the birds at my feeder, just exhale for a moment. It’s a rare gift to have a open morning, a chance to appreciate the dawn and early spring in New England.

And so I did – and made myself a delicious coffee, of course.


2021: March, bringing back the wonder

March is a long month in New England, usually starts out in real winter and then a few starts and stops with false spring but then it really kicks off with a lot of mud, then finally a hint of REAL spring, the world waking back up from it’s winter nap (and then maybe a bit more mud).

The song birds wait for the sun and kick off the chorus that begins and ends each day. The light changes, it’s brighter and the trees get feathery at the end, leaves thinking about unfurling. Hope does actually spring eternal, everyone.

I took a walk yesterday, up a hill and along a river, in the pale sunshine and felt that little springtime lift people who live around here feel, the idea that maybe the hermit times are ending, that maybe windows cans stay open and jackets can be packed away. Just like the green shoots under the mulch, my soul stretched a bit and felt a flutter.

And with a smile on my face, as I stopped by the river, a tiny purple plastic egg caught my eye.

So many questions, where did this come from? who is it for? It looks fresh and not like an egg that had wintered in this log. I left it there and wished it well.

A tiny bit of wonder in the waking up world.


Coffee Cups: 2021 The Berkshires

I want more. I want moments on top of moments that don’t involve the inside of my house.

Soon right? Soon. Along with spring and the GD vaccine (anti-vaxers, please move along – this is a place for travel, thoughts dreams and science too).

A cafe coffee on the regular, too please. I broke out last weekend to celebrate my olden getting her vaccine. And this cup of magic goodness was all it could have been and more.

A window back to before times…


2020 The Year That Wasn’t

Not one shared word from me. Not one post. Here instead one month into the new year are the pictures. It was a lot of these beautiful moments and also a lot of unknowns, worry, tears, love, laughs and all the rainbow of feelings. Family and friendship.

I am ok. My family is ok. My friends are ok. There’s been a bit of collateral damage though and for that, well, sitting here in 2021, choosing to look forward and be here in the now. Much love to all.


2019: Fall at rest

My favorite tree. In my favorite hometown spot.

Five years ago, she was on fire. Orange as ever. I felt like I was on fire too. About to head off to Nepal, I was ready for what was next. That fall was spectacular.

This fall, she’s not so orange. No so well. Maybe she’s older, maybe she’s too tired to glow but don’t give up on her yet. Tree, I feel the same some days.

Let’s look closer though. She’s still got some orange fire in her leaves. She’s still in the game. So am I tree. So am I.


2019: Florida

Time away is time to clear out the cobwebs and to put my house in order. Distance from the churn of life. If I haven’t spoken of it here before, I should have. Lots has happened this winter and early spring and also a lot of nothing has happened. Suddenly the nothing is something. Somehow I misplaced the goodness of the nothing. The comfort of same.

Same job, same house, same life but I forgot that’s not bad news. It’s ok to feel settled. My friends. My family. My small town. My cats even. I actually kept plants alive this winter for goodness sake.

My thirties were so restless. I get tired thinking of it. New places, new cultures, I got a little lost.

I don’t feel lost anymore. I can see the benefit of playing the long game. This is new, people, and we’re going to see where it goes.

For now, I am going to have some more seafood and look at this view and warm my winter filled bones in this glorious sun.



2018: Back to East Africa

June 2018: I wrote most of the below and forgot to publish it as anyone who has visited East Africa the network is a mercurial and not always reliable thing. So here you are…. a month later – the thoughts all still stand, my readers. I just didn’t officially state it live time. I know life isn’t a fairy tale, but it’s nice to be looking around the next bend at a happy what’s next – I don’t live to think of endings or ever after, life certainly isn’t so tidy, at least mine isn’t. It’s a happy right now for me. It’s a building of the house where there was once just me and is now an us. Here’s to us and all of you. It’s also pre-summer in the Berkshires, in Massachusetts where I live and the greener than green came with me back from Tanzania… I don’t mind it, I don’t mind it at all.

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April 2018: I have been in Tanzania during the dry season or just at the start of the short rains, never at the end of the rainy season when the land is so gloriously green everywhere – greener than the greenest green.

It’s also dangerous and muddy, with floods and broken roads but let’s set that aside for a moment and focus on the endless emerald fields and hillsides. I have to say I have learned to love this confusing country in all conditions.

This is my first time traveling free – not quite a local, a mzungu never is going to be that.  I have replaced the blur from a 4 x 4 vehicle window, a more than curated experience., with street food, Masai nightclubs, the Dar “lux” express bus (it’s not so lux but it’s also not so not lux – that’s a puzzle 12 hours on that bus will solve for you). I may have even drunk the water (ok, you all know, I did but I swear my gut appreciates it now).

When does the tourist become the traveler? When is it just visiting your guy where he lives and going to the village where he was born? Does it matter that the village where I was born was Chicago? I don’t know.  Somehow by accident of fate, my global citizenship has changed and I have to carve out a spot here as well as there – there will always be a bit different when I am here and it’s a weird and unsettling mix of complicated and simple.

When I get on my plane back to the USA this time, I am not just taking memories with me. I am leaving someone behind. What was once a one way, becomes a new life plan and roundtrips. My heart couldn’t be more full,

As my father told me long ago, shoot for the stars, just remember to find the potatoes on the ground too. So with stars in my eyes and potatoes in my pockets, let the next chapter begin.


2018: Newer New Year

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Month and a half in and already, while my feet may be firmly planted in my cow town, I have been moving mental mountains. I haven’t really been anywhere but I feel like it’s been not an Everest sized trek, maybe a trek to a smaller kind of craggy peak. I can see the top, I am just not there yet. Oh but the view, it’s going to be glorious.

I am going to state it here, there’s going to be a heap ton of metaphors in this one and maybe even some cliches – you can do it, it will be ok. It won’t be my best work but it’s going to be perhaps the most honest, painfully earnest (ugh, right?) one in a while. A gal like me fears earnest behavior, I cover up my uncomfortableness at that with a lot of goony behavior.

We can do this together.

For the last ten years, all my travel and movement has been a lot of great and amazing noise, wanderlust filled adventures – big trips to exotic destinations, with shots needed and long plane rides. Then, circumstances made me stay here in this town and when not, on the road to a job that hadn’t been fulfilling me in a long time. I am hesitant to speak on that part of my life much, except to state I work in a confusing place that was never supposed to be such a long thing, I was just doing it for a little while and then I kind of got stuck. I am not sure I have ever been able to write about it. It’s a lot of the best of times, the worst of times stuff. I’ll save it for another day except to say – I have been mired in work muck, life muck too.

Well, friends, family, people in China reading this blog, I am getting myself unstuck – think of that noise your shoe makes when you pry it out of the mud, like a loud smack. And when I go in, I go big. I said to someone I am quitting everything in 2018 but I was wrong. I am not quitting me. I am looking for her. The job will be morphed, re-formed, re-tooled – the end is in sight after such a long run. And so I have found my mountain, I have found my road up it, where there is one. It was pretty foggy for a long long time.

There’s so much in a person who falls in and out of depression that can take us off our road. For some, the constant movement of travel takes that edge off. Before you can connect, you’re on the move again. Shifting and dancing around the issues and globe. I see no shame in discussing the cloud of darkness, the haze of numbness once and for all. I have read some fairly inspiring posts, that may not be this one for all of you but I can at least explain my view and as this is my space, perhaps I am explaining it to myself at the same time. I know when I start thinking and writing about this topic, my fingers fly across the keys so my thoughts clearly want out.

I have heard all the metaphors (here come the cliches) – it’s like being in a house with no windows, you can’t protect yourself against the weather so it blows in and blows out with no control. I have heard of it as a boat in stormy and then calm sea, with a broken rudder. Both are good pictures of what it feels like sometimes. It’s never taken me down, but it’s taken me to my bloodied knees. I am not sure you lovely even keeled folks get how much of my energy can go to holding myself together, getting myself up, all while attempting to appear normal and capable. I don’t think people know how tough and fierce this makes parts of us in the depression chain gang. We can wield a pretty intense hammer on those rocks, in the hottest of life’s sun.

When I was younger, I would let it win – so many, so many times, I let it win. Pretty much most of my twenties, I was definitely living and making memories, as I was being chased down by something else. I can still pick out the pictures where my eyes look dull and the going through the motions days.

Good news, being over forty, maybe my fear of wasting time has gotten to me. I don’t do that anymore. Now when I feel the darkness lurking, I go into battle mode. I give up alcohol, I give up messy dramatic friends who normally are a sparkly addition to my day to day, not forever, just a time out, I go inward and I plan the attack back. I don’t even consider a life without this cycle of ok and not ok. I don’t crave the life that isn’t mine. Therapy, physical activity, friend and family love, medication, coping mechanisms – they all do work but be warned that the chemistry of depression is something no one on the other side can properly understand. You can think you finally fixed it, a little less of this, more of that but it changes, as I grow stronger here, I find new weaknesses and I have to go back to work. I am just so grateful that my form allows me to try and that my heart and mind agree on this task together. An aside here, don’t you dare pity me, don’t ever ever do that. I pity you for feeling that way as it’s going to speak to your fear more than it speaks to my perceived damage. Know I wouldn’t choose this life either but it’s mine so please don’t judge it. Judgement is crappy. Like a bird making her nest, I just weave this straw in with the rest.

2018. I don’t know where all this change will lead me but it won’t be where I have been. Every year a newer new me, newer new lessons. The universe likes to play a lot of games with all of us but I have cracked one major thing – the journey won’t change unless I do. I know, that lesson was just painfully right in front of my face. Did I hear it yelling over here? Did I see it? Yeah, not so much.

Did I mention my will of iron? Yeah, that will is pretty stubborn and owns a fantastic set of ear muffs and blinders.

This year, I’ll get back on some planes, but there won’t be a devil on my back chasing me. I go this time as me, unapologetically and complicated me to face that newer new world out there. It’s a crap shoot really – but from what I can see from these trees, the view from the top of this current mountain…. heaven on earth.

PS. Please, for those of you on top of my annoying proverbial mountain, let’s just not mention that there’s a bigger grander mountain behind it, that you can only see from up there, it won’t help me get out of these trees.

HAPPY 2018. Thanks for wading through the metaphors and cliches. Wishing you all the very best year.


2017 Giving thanks

Making memories, living life doesn’t mean I have stopped reflecting. It’s been an intense time of real adult style stuff. You can either go deep and connect through the story or you can instead share memories of happier times. This summer and fall I could do neither. Waiting for the other shoe to drop, something was just not right.

And then the show did drop. I’ll get there and share more or not. Life was upside down for a while but all seems slightly less so or maybe I am just better at it now.

Today we went Christmas tree shopping. The cub was not so thrilled. I remembered cutting a tree down is hard and it was slightly gloomy a day. Memories. In the end life in its imperfection makes better memories. It’s taken me almost half a lifetime to learn that. I always believed in the yin and yang of life, now I am just going focus on living it. Wish me luck.