Today, I had lunch with a writing friend of mine. We planned this a few weeks back, and I am glad it actually took place.
I was afraid I’d get too anxious and back out or far too afraid to even go. This was actually my first outing to sit down and eat at a restaurant (outside on the patio) since the pandemic began.
We decided on a place called Relish in Raleigh, which is about an hour and thirty-five minutes away from me. We had a delightful time. The food was great. The service was excellent. And it is a pet-friendly environment.
These days, I pretty much have to have Jernee with me if I venture away from home for too long, so this place being all it was and so much more, was definitely a Godsend.
All work and no play Makes Jernee a grumpy dog Today we had fun
Outing with a friend Delicious food to savor A pet friendly place
We will go again When I’ve gathered up the strength It had been too long
Finding peace at every turn and growing at my own pace
If I can be honest, this past week has been a great week for me — overall, one of the best I have had in several months. I am overjoyed to see these words typed on-screen. There were some stressful points at work, but the fantastic team I am a part of makes things much better. We all jump right in and ride the waves of the slew of calls we get, and everyone is so supportive.
It beats swimming alone when you know the tide will be at its highest. It beats chipping away at a mountain when you know you still haven’t reached its peak. It beats running away from something when all it takes is patience, prayer, and perseverance.
I am enjoying the drop in temperatures over the past few days. There is a cool breeze in the morning and at night, and the sun is not trying to body slam me into submission during the day.
This tells me — autumn is in the air, and I am here for it! It is one of my favorite seasons. I look forward to dressing in layers, drinking hot cocoa, making stews and crockpot soups, and cuddling under my favorite blanket with Jernee.
Peace is moving in steadily, and I invite it with open arms.
A moment to relax and enjoy a favorite pastime
Last night, Friday, August 12, 2022, I watched Dog Gone Trouble via Netflix. After I’d rid myself of the workday, walked Jernee, ate dinner, and snuggled up with the Little Monster in my favorite chair, I switched on Netflix for what has become a favorite pastime of mine — ending my workdays with laughter and animated goodness or enjoying a weekend bonanza of all things kid-friendly.
My happy place is a space for all ages, yet I am content experiencing it alone.
This movie had so many high points for me and, of course, a lesson I believe most adults could benefit from, especially nowadays. Just in case you’re interested, the trailer is below.
I will give you a bit of a spoiler — the dancing tree squirrels will have you laughing your head off with the leader’s crazy amount of phrasings, including the word “nuts.” Trouble (the dog)actually says on more than one occasion — and I am paraphrasing — “This just sounds so inappropriate.”
If you love to laugh, enjoy cartoons or animated movies, and have about one hour and 30 minutes to spare, then give yourself the gift of Dog Gone Trouble. It’s worth it.
Comfort foods and their impact
Sunday, August 06, 2022, I made one of my favorite comfort foods. There’s nothing truly special about it — it’s made with delicious and basic ingredients and will also allow you to have leftovers for at least two to three days after you have prepared it.
What is it, Tre? you ask. I call it “hearty beef dip.” You can substitute the meat for any other meat you’d like: ground chicken, ground turkey, or ground pork. After adding cheese sauce and shredded cheese, light red kidney beans, onions, and chopped spinach, what you get is a feast in your mouth as you dip corn chips into this hearty goodness.
I learned about this basic yet filling meal from my best friend almost twenty years ago. It has been a staple in my home since then. I do not have the meal often — perhaps once every other month. But I always look forward to making it. My stomach does too.
Growing at my pace and it feels good
Soon, I will partake in something completely out of my comfort zone and new to me. I am shaking as I type this very paragraph for this newsletter, but something has moved me recently to continue to step out of my comfort zone. And doing so has gotten me to a calmer place.
This cannot be a coincidence.
If I attack or stare down fear and take it head-on, the things I avoided doing seem less scary.
I have more research to do, some basic contact emails to send, and becoming one with this new venture as I learn more about it.
*Fingers crossed I will have good news in the coming weeks*
Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential. — Bruce Lee
Welcome to The Grieving Room. I am here. You are here. We are not alone in this.
I called my dad EARLY this morning to wish him a happy Father’s Day. I also made certain he knew I’d be emailing his poem to him. Recently, I shared We Don’t Want To Rewind Time on this blog, and the piece is actually doing very well across all writing platforms. I wanted/want him to know I’ll always have a place in my heart for him, and there will never be anything but love for me to share with him. Regardless of anything and everything else, there is love.
So, on this Father’s Day, I want to wish every father, caretaker, mentor, uncle, older cousin, and anyone who is giving their time, efforts, and love to a child or children of any age nothing but love and a beautiful day ahead.
For anyone remembering a father or fathers no longer here with us, I offer you peace and healing, and may there be happy memories for you to pull from your memory bank to reflect upon and embrace.
I am enjoying a lovely breakfast as my own personal gift to all of you by way of a happy tummy.
Feeling the lows and the highs and learning from them
I have had an okay week — some lows and some highs — some things I am learning from and enjoying the journey through them, but life is still life. Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of embracing a friend/old co-worker of mine in an actual hug for what felt timeless. We both needed it. I hadn’t seen her in six months, and her visit was one that had been planned, but we switched up what we wanted to do because of the high temperatures. I had been in the process of finishing an early Memorial Day dinner when she arrived, so in my heart — in my mind, I knew I’d either feed her or send her home with a plate of food.
Weekends have always been the days I’d spend trying to attain some downtime, but they usually become days for running errands, getting stuff done for Jernee (my 14-year-old Chorkie), visiting a few family members, and anything else that needs my attention. But to host someone I care about, someone I love, in my home for a few hours reminded me of the Before Times. Pre-COVID, I made it a point to feed a friend or loved one occasionally, to allot space and a place for them to rest when they visited, and to experience all I could with them while they had been around.
The visit had been what I longed for — a few hours in the presence of a kind-hearted person who is a brilliant conversationalist and has worked in the medical field for a few years more than I have. We talked about life, how we’re managing this on-again/off-again global pandemic, and what we’re doing to take care of ourselves.
The week also brought about time for me to work on some writing. And during this time, two pieces of poetry, one work of flash fiction, and an essay had been produced. My younger cousin (Chrissy’s daughter) visited as well. Connecting with her — being around her — simply listening to her did my heart good.
Through every moment of this week that sent me spinning out of bounds a bit, I circled back to where I needed to be — in the center. I am here now.
Feeding the heart and not only the mind.
It is a blessing when you can provide a home-cooked meal for someone. Cooking is an essential part of life. If we can, we do it. And if we are good at it, we probably do it more often than others. The process — the creating and preparing and pairing of ingredients is an art form. One could get lost in the dance — in the rhythm of maintaining the flow if one is not careful. It is my aim whenever I cook for someone to cater to not only their stomachs, but to their hearts, too.
Above is the meal I gingerly packed and handed to my friend before she left my home; barbecued beef ribs, potato salad, and collard greens. We began our afternoon releasing — sharing what we needed to share with one another, and by the end of her visit; I had an overwhelming calmness stirring within me. She gave me more than just her time — she gave her heart too by coming directly over right after work to sit awhile with me.
I think we are at the stage in our friendship where moments such as the one we shared are a welcome occurrence. We search for these moments with others, and some can provide them — some cannot. I am grateful to have allowed food, faith, a pleasant conversation, and some tears to restore me.
The writing comes, it always comes.
And I sit with it when it does. Something moves me. Something shakes me. Something pushes me to create and use this incredible thing we produce by taking vocabulary and painting it firmly on the canvas of our lives. The tragedies of the last few weeks have had my stomach in knots — my spirit is completely defeated. I felt anger. I felt pain. I felt an undeniable sense of wanting to run away from my country to be somewhere else, anywhere else, but here. I wrote about it.
I find it disturbing that as human beings; we are moving from what can connect us to what almost always causes a further disconnect, and we settle there until the next best thing comes along to do more of the same. Words still move me. They have a space in my heart, and that will never change. I can use any genre of writing to express what I feel. And the beauty of this alone should be cherished — should be pedestal’d. I wrote about that, too.
When prompted, I spill over from the fullness of fiction and I birth characters who are fully formed and come complete with their own cores with whom my readers can and often connect. A prompt word, “shadow” landed me in the lane to create the third part of a mystery/thriller flash fiction series I have been nursing. It came to life.
I also wrote about the power of a home-cooked meal and how it is not just food we are transforming from its raw form to a cooked form for consumption, we are transforming the lives of our friends, family members, and acquaintances when we can give them our hearts in a meal. If I cook for you, you are in my heart. I want you to be well. It helps me to be well.
Building bonds and strengthening hearts.
I had not seen my late cousin Chrissy’s daughter since she was twelve years old. Nearly twenty years later, we hugged as though our lives depended on it. Her life abroad, distance, and everything else that comes into play to throw a kink in plans occurred. But now, there are no excuses for us. With her in her 30s and me in my 40s, we are forming a bond I know her mom dreamt up and sent to us cosmically.
To hold her tightly and say, “I love you” repeatedly as she said it too, almost drew more tears from me. Happy tears, though. At one point, I said, “When I let you go, I am going to miss this — miss you.” Taking a brief road trip with her to take her where she intended to go for her visit to North Carolina had been the link I needed.
I did not know my Saturday — this Saturday would catapult me back to a high point — one that I won’t soon forget. I no longer have Chrissy, but I see her living on in her daughter, and that — that is an amazing thing to witness. Through her child, I will respect her existence. It has been a gift showering down on me over the past few months.
Love is a wondrous thing. If you have it, whenever you have it, keep it close.
The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. — Richard Bach
Welcome to The Grieving Room. I am here. You are here. We are not alone in this.