A few weeks ago, I posted on Instagram about being in a “Middle Season.” Now, after the rush of launching The Chasing Creative Podcast and making a dozen decisions on our house, we’re back in a middle season with not a lot to report. Instead of trying to force out a witty blog post about a semi-relevant topic, I decided I would share what I’ve been up to in this Middle Season, because even when we feel like not a lot is happening, it often is.
So, lately I’ve been…
To my friends Jenna and Josiah Hazel. They recently released an album and I have it on repeat all the time. Their band is called Settling Houses and you can listen to their first album, Drive and Never Stop here.
I’ve been reading a little more for fun lately, to wind down at the end of a day. I read Brooklyn and it was OK. Pretty, but not grand.
I just started The Paris Wife after hearing Paula McLain give a talk at the Madison Public Library last week. I fell in love with her words in person, and I hope to love them on the page as well.
I’m still slowly, slowly working my way through Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Trying to take this one a chapter at a time and really think through some of the questions that it raises for myself and my creative life.
Scott and I recently watched Aziz Ansari’s Master of None on Netflix. While I enjoyed the social issues that the show addresses, issues like feminism and race in Hollywood, sometimes it was a bit too crude for me. The show did end on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I am excited to see where Season 2 goes. Even if the jokes don’t always hit home with me, I feel like it’s important enough to keep watching, and to support a show created by individuals of color in a world where a lot of comedy T.V. isn’t.
I’m still in Season 5 of Downton Abbey, so don’t spoil the ending for me! I’ve managed to avoid it so far and am 100% happy about this. At the rate we are able to watch the show, I will finish Season 6 sometime in 2018, I do believe.
We’ve been working on plans for the house. A few weeks ago we picked out flooring, and just a couple of weeks ago we chose kitchen cabinets and decided on what kind of trim we would like throughout the house. We’re still waiting to get a driveway in, but then the real fun begins, or so I hear. I’ve not built a house before, so I really, really have no idea what I am doing. Glad my contractor does.
I’m excited that I signed up for Brooks Editorial’s Content Challenge. I may be biased, as Ashley is my podcast co-host, but I really do think its going to be awesome. Anyone who can run a business and a blog while working from home and raising a toddler AND podcast on the side is someone I want to learn from, STAT.
Speaking of podcasting… Chasing Creative now has nine (!) episodes out in the world. Ashley and I have had such a great time chatting with our guests and learning from them as much as our audience is. We cannot believe how much love you have all shown us in just these nine short weeks, and we can’t wait to see where it goes next. We are trucking along behind the scenes, recording and editing more episodes every week to keep them rolling out to you. We hope you’ll join in the discussion over on Instagram and Twitter using #ChasingCreative.
So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. What about you? Reading, watching or listening to anything astonishing? I’d love to hear about it?
Two weeks ago today, my car got hit by a semi.
It was actually a pretty minor accident, but the drama of that statement is too hard to pass up.
It was a young driver, in a hurry, during rush hour. He didn’t turn wide enough and the tail end of his trailer took the taillight off the back of my car and damaged the body in a couple of places. One minute I was stopped at a stoplight, a coworker and I on our way to an awards ceremony, and the next my car lurched forward on its wheels. We had no idea what happened, the semi nailing the car exactly in my blind spot. It was a terrifying moment, and even more so when I didn’t think the driver noticed: that he was going to keep driving away and leave me to deal with the mess on my own.
He did stop, and I wish I could say that we swapped numbers, worked it out and went on our merry ways – but I can’t. It started out amicably enough, but the back and forth broke down when numbers and timelines entered the picture. He wasn’t satisfied with my answers, I wasn’t pleased with his language. Trust doesn’t go very deep when its strangers and money and fault on the surface.
The week tugged me back and forth, from optimism to pessimism to disillusion. I grew mad at myself for being a nice person and getting myself into a mess; for saying “yes” when he mentioned paying out of pocket; for not calling my insurance company when the time was right. And being mad at yourself for being a nice person? That’s irrational and maddening; there is no one word to describe it, except maybe shame. Shame for disliking your own person and your own natural inclination toward kindness. I should never have to apologize for being nice, but I found me apologizing to myself for that very thing.
It is amazing how a single text message can cause a sleepless night, how words can cut us more than we let on.
My imagination is active enough, it doesn’t need someone to propose alternate timelines. It does just fine on its own. Anxiety is never my first response to a situation, but sometimes when we are pushed, we break. I’ve come to believe that being angry at yourself evokes a chemical reaction in your bones: your mind is not to be at odds with your soul in such a way. It isn’t fitting.
So our body, the mediator, tells us to stop.
And when you are running life at full speed, it’s a lot easier to stumble.
I woke Tuesday morning, late – too late. After a fitful night of turning and tossing and thinking oh so many things, I had overslept: right through a coffee date, right through the beginning of a new friendship, and right into a massive headache, a touch of a cold. Scott had been battling his for a week, and it was only a matter of time before I succumbed, too. Of course, it would be now.
My body knew what I wouldn’t let my mind see: I needed a day off.
I stayed home, worked from my couch. Took care of everything really important and then took a nap. I ordered flowers for the friendship that I had thought for sure I had ruined before it had even begun. Sarah was kind, understanding. Kinder to me than I was myself, and for that I am very, very grateful.
I missed book club. I know I’m sick when I willingly miss book club.
I’ll make lasagna, I thought, because of course all people cook from scratch when they take sick days. But there’s something about chopping and sautéing that sooth an unsettled mind. A recipe is a prescription of a sort, really. It tells you exactly what to do for a single desired outcome. You want a pan of lasagna? You simmer onions and sausage and garlic and tomatoes. A touch of sugar to balance the acid. Parsley and basil to season, to transport the senses elsewhere. A little time and a lot of cheese heal most wounds, I do think. A bit of pasta doesn’t hurt either.
I put together two lasagnas, one for now and one for later. Layering the sauce, the noodles, and cheese, it felt good to put together when so much of life had felt like a tumble lately. It felt good to build something nourishing. Putting that lasagna together felt like putting my life together, in a way. It’s funny how a good meal can do that, but not surprising. Jesus is the Bread of Life. I think it no coincidence that He described Himself so; a slice of warm bread makes you feel home again, whole.
My car is in the shop now, getting fixed. I should have it back next week and most of stress of the last two weeks should be behind me. I know I should slow down, to practice more kindness toward myself. But it’s hard. As one of my favorite people on the internet, Callie Feyen, said, “I’ve said yes to too many things this year, and all of them seem important.”
What is the most important thing right now? I’m not going to try and figure it out here, today. That’s a conversation for my self in a different setting, when I’ve got a bit more sleep in me, a little more distance. But my body is tuned to the question, and my mind is open and watching.