#241: The Second Sleep

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I get up in the morning when Alex works 10-6, so that I can drive her to the train station on time. It’s a lot easier than having her walk the whole way there, and plus I get to see her rather than not. It’s a positive no matter how you look at it. This tradition began around February or March, give or take, after I started my new job but before I realized it was convenient for me to drive her, too. Now that it’s summer vacation, I have no excuse not to drive her, and I agree. It just works out well, as a way to get me up earlier without inducing too much grogginess. Nothing wrong with waking up at 8am, right? Right?

I still get some anxiety driving, especially after the most recent incident, but it’s worth it so I can drive her to her destination on time. I sometimes miss these days, especially when Alex returns to working 9-5 or 8-4 instead. Those shifts are much too early for me to drive her, so I sleep instead.

But when I get home from driving Alex, I sometimes go back to sleep. It’s my second sleep, you could say. I like waking up early, but sometimes it’s necessary to go back to bed after having a long, long evening playing video games on the couch. Being a teacher during summer vacation means that, after all. There’s nothing better than the feeling of going to bed a second time, waking up a second time, and feeling totally, completely refreshed all over again. Who doesn’t want that?

My second sleeps are reserved for the days when Alex works 10-6, but I revel in them. It’s another great bonus of her working those days, and even though it might seem the same as just sleeping the extra hours, it’s not.

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#231: The Real Draft

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No, not using playing cards this time. Still playing Magic: the Gathering, just like normal. Playing Magic is a blast, but being able to draft in person is completely different from drafting elsewhere. It’s like night and day; on the one hand, drafting online is fast, easy, and you can pick up and stop whenever you want, but on the other hand, drafting in person allows you to counter each other’s strategies in a way that’s not possible online, while drafting against computers. There’s competition in drafting against each other, and although I don’t exactly have a set plan in drafting to make matters easy, I love being able to think through my picks in that way. Plus, you never know what cards people are going to play against you when you finally get to play against them. You might have a vague idea, but there’s no way to completely predict a person’s deck, given the randomness and complexity of drafting a limited set with 254 possible cards inside. It makes drafting so much more of a mental exercise.

Earlier today, while talking about something completely different, I referred to Magic: the Gathering as “mental exercise” to Alex (as a way to persuade her to let us play magic before going to the gym, which she wasn’t a fan of, unfortunately). I definitely think it’s like that; apparently, it’s one of the most complicated games ever created, and I can understand why. The sheer number of cards and mechanics and keywords and interlocking plays is maddening and frankly impossible to keep track of entirely. You have to memorize so much in order to truly call yourself a master of magic, or a judge, in other people’s cases. Being a judge would be an interesting job for someone to have, as a volunteer exercise of course.

#198: The Dog Weekend

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We had an eventful weekend involving Angus, that’s all I’m going to say. It was full of ups and downs, high ups and low downs. On the one hand, Angus and I had a bit of a confrontation on the bed that lead to some drama and difficult conversations afterwards. That’s all I’ll say about that, to ensure I don’t stress the topic more than I need to. It’s done and over with, and we’ve moved on, the two of us (Angus and I).

But on the other hand, Angus was taken on a long, nice walk around the park outside on Saturday that filled out hearts with joy. He always makes us happy when we get to see his tongue flying around and his head swaying from side to side. He’s like a little child sometimes, and we tend to say that a lot about him. His behavior resembles that of a little kid with an old man’s body. He walks around with the swagger of a young child, his head bobbing up and down as he pants recklessly. That’s my favorite part about taking him on walks; we get to see him absolutely lose it whenever he gets to go outside. It’s clearly one of his favorite things about living with us. If there weren’t two parks near us, I’m not sure what we would be able to do to have fun with our boy.

Speaking of fun, the weather outside was perfect these past few days, and now as I’m writing this blog post, the weather is back to its terrible, chilly, rainy messiness. Typical May showers, right? I wish it were warm again, but on the other hand, I’m glad to be able to wear sweaters from my wardrobe again. It’s like I get to dig into this whole other array of work clothes I don’t normally get to wear. They’re finally unlocked and open.

#194: The Free Weekend

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Today, I’ll be talking about plans Alex and I have set for our free weekend
coming up. I usually go to my friends’ places over the weekend for a night, as a way of relaxing and getting away from stressful environments. But this weekend, I have no such plans with my friends and I am completely free to do whatever I want. That means that Alex and I are going to have to figure out something to do together this weekend, and there’s a list of options.

Usually, we get one free day together to do whatever we want, but with the added bonus of having an extra day to do things together, it’ll be interesting to see what we come up with. Maybe I’ll even go back to this post in the next few days and update it with our plans, after we’ve made and completed them.

I’ll start things off with one idea: How about we drive down to New Haven to see my grandma, who just got out of the hospital after her big hip surgery? We can definitely do that. It would be nice to see family after being away for awhile.

Here’s another idea to think about: What if we drove and got smoothies again, considering we weren’t able to get them on Monday when we originally planned on going? Robek’s is life, and unfortunately, after driving specifically for smoothies together, the place was closed and we weren’t able to go in.

I’m not sure what this blog post really is about, so I’m sorry to those of you who spent time reading it. I think this might be my most rambling and ridiculous one yet. Hopefully, by the time this goes up, it won’t really matter. We will have to see!

Empathy

Can you smell
if your eyes are blurred?

Can you eat
if your nose is stuffed?

Can you hear
if your hands are cold?

Can you feel
if your mouth is closed?

Can you see
if your ears are clogged?

Empathy, for a moment, please

It’s all we need

#185: Forever

gray and black dress pins

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Forever. Sometimes, we get lucky and are able to let the meaning of the word “forever” enter our lives. I’m an absurdly lucky and fortunate person, able to live a life that’s blessed with people I know will always be there for me, like Alex. As I’ve said in the past, I don’t know where I would be without her. Certain things like this connection we have are bound to last as long as possible. When we talk about forever, we talk about Angus, we talk about our lease and the apartment, we talk about getting married and living our lives like this, the way they’ve been lived, forever. We know what it’s like to be alone, especially for long periods of time and when we need someone around us the most. I think that’s partially what fuels our collective need for long-term commitment, because nothing is more reassuring and uplifting in the moment than hearing that the person who makes your life positive and radiant has no plans of leaving any time soon. Having been alone for such a long time, literally and figuratively, sucks.

I mean, it also helps that Alex is a great person who lifts me up when I’m feeling down, and who is beautiful and smart and courageous and wonderful. She is an inspiration for me to look up to, and she takes care of so much around the apartment. I wouldn’t be able to survive in this crazy world without her, at this point. I know that much is certain. It’s one of the many reasons I’m so grateful to be with her.

You know, sometimes people talk about what it means to be in a relationship that lasts, and so far we’ve lasted strong for about 27 months. I’d say I know a thing or two about what it means to have someone’s back while they have yours. And it feels great.

#175: The Grocery Store

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Today, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite grocery stores in the world, and perhaps one of the best and most consistently good spots in Stamford in general.

When Alex and I first started exploring the Boston-Quincy area a few years ago, one of the first places we went to was a Trader Joe’s, about 20 minutes away from her apartment. You had to cross a long bridge to get there, and the parking lot was vast and open, unlike the lot for Stamford’s Trader Joe’s store. There also wasn’t usually a line to get in. On the other hand, though, there wasn’t a Robek’s next door to this one. We would pick up turkey bacon and ghost pepper chips and dried mango slices to take home with us, and we started to expect those things like they were normal, everyday items. Even now, when we go to Trader Joe’s in Stamford, we still pick up the same items that we did when we were in Boston, except for the mango slices. We don’t eat those any more, at least not as much. Nowadays, we make occasional trips to Trader Joe’s to pick up whatever items we missed from Fairway. Trader Joe’s has the best name-brand items around, so it’s worth shopping there just to pick up the stuff you wish they had elsewhere.

Sometimes, small things like that stick with you, and the small things begin to resemble larger ideas. I remember when my grandma, sister, and I spent a week in California with our extended family, and during a grocery trip to Trader Joe’s, they bought me a buffalo chicken wrap. I ate it cold. Their house didn’t have much in terms of good food, so I was desperately hungry for something to sink my teeth into.

#77: The Anniversary

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Two years. Two full years. Wow.

Think about something you’ve done for two years straight. No interruptions. Does anything fit the bill? Is it tough to think of an idea?

I hope to, one day, have written daily blogs for two years straight. Reaching the illustrious #728 would be a great achievement to tout, though I’ll need to work hard in generating new ideas to write about! I feel sometimes that I run out of ideas from doing basic things around the house, because it gets so repetitive, but one day I’ll reach #728, and it will be glorious.

But that’s not the topic of today’s blog post. Today is about a different kind of anniversary. Two years to the day, I messaged a certain person after we matched on a mutual dating app called CoffeeMeetsBagel. Two days later, we met at the Starbucks on Dixwell Avenue in Hamden and the rest has been history. Whether it’s going to the grocery store, to Target, or to the mall together, there’s no one else I’d rather run around through life with. Whether it’s taking a short weekend vacation to Providence, journeying up for five hours to Syracuse, or moving into a new apartment together in Stamford, there’s no one else I’d rather travel and experience the world with. Suffice to say, this person has had an incredible impact on my life, and these past two years have allowed me to transition into being an adult more than ever before. I wouldn’t have made as much progress as I have, both mentally and personally, without this person’s helping hand leading the way. Being in a long-term relationship is like having an eternal companion to go on trips and errands with. It’s never being bored, always having company when you need it. You’re never alone, even when you are physically alone. The guiding spirit of your partner travels with you and accompanies your journey. When you’re stressed, your partner’s words remind you of what it’s like to be relieved and refreshed. When you’re anxious, your partner is there for a comforting, warming hug.

My partner is brilliant, thoughtful, loving, sympathetic, charming, witty, pleasant, silly, adorable, likable, eager, and kind in all ways. They are considerate, even when they don’t think they are, even when they worry about it. They have changed my life more than they will ever be able to fully comprehend. It’s shocking to look back two years ago at where I was, in comparison to now; what I know and don’t know, where I was and what that meant for me. Every day I’m grateful to have met this person, grateful that our paths crossed so coincidentally and then stuck together like inseparable glue afterwards. It’s been a life-saving miracle ever since.

Someone

Remember when we used to be
Together, walking somewhere all-right
Alongside, reading something decent
The days, when we wrote shitty stories
The hours, when we had nothing to do
The minutes, when we smiled on end
In a blink, it’s all gone
Remember when we would relax
In your room, reveling in mediocrity
By the canal, sinking into the sand
I like to think, it’s because
We wanted to leave reality
Side by side
Just wait
Because it’s coming again,
The emotion, the animosity
Brewing in the cauldron
In your basement, the love potions,
The hate potions, and the lame ones
Give me a chance to
Fix the crack under your skin
Remember when the days passed quickly
And we forgot to write everyday,
Because life zoomed by, in an instant
I wish we could return
To the recent past
Forget the present; it’s not your birthday
Remember how you used to love it
Just be patient
I think we can make this better

Flower in the shade

Today is the day when you fall back in
And the atmosphere calls us home;
Your dreams are so grand and homely
But release your head from the stars
You’re lost in the gravity of
Black-holes, the guilty life-suckers,
The dark moons that command the sea.
 
So run now from their push and call,
And seek a skyward destiny;
The world is full of song and dance
A lifeless home to circumstance
And we can cut down all the trees
In a swing of the axe, but you’d
Still be a flower in the shade.