Moments of Zen

This is one of the most interesting times in my life, at least as far as my mental state goes. Why so interesting? Oddly enough, it’s because I’m not in a tizzy about anything. It’s not because my life has suddenly turned out to be like I imagined adulthood would be as a child, where you go to work, come home and do hobbies, enjoy a meal with your loving spouse, and sleep soundly, knowing you have the money to pay all your bills. Nope, that’s not it.

Little things just make me happy these days, like my peace and trees corner (shh, they are not Christmas decorations).

Rather, as I’ve mentioned in other blog posts, it seems as if all the things I have been working on to become my best self have taken effect, at least for the most part. Like what, you ask?

First, I had to accept myself the way I am. I’m human, with some issues that led me to develop some habits and tendencies that might bug people (let’s see, over-reacting to perceived criticism, crying when confronted angrily, problems with being “yelled at” or picked on, sarcasm, coming across as “looking down” at people…whatever). It’s weird, once I convinced myself that it was okay to be who I am, so many of those behaviors lessened. I haven’t cried in AGES other than when totally appropriate (death of people and dogs I love, mainly).

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Why I Had a Happy Childhood

Baby me and my father, Edwin Prince Kendall.

Things just hit you sometimes. Yesterday I was walking toward Rowdy the Rental Audi in the work parking garage, and I got a flashback of being a kid. I’d talked about missing my parents earlier in the day, which probably prompted the experience.

I suddenly felt the heavy weight of the humidity at my house in Gainesville, Florida, smelled the dark black earth, and heard the thump-thump of my dad, doing his favorite activity, known as “digging a hole.” If Dad was upset, frustrated, or just needed to get away from Mom’s antics for a while, he’d go out in the yard and dig. He used to joke that some of the camellias had been moved five or six times, for no good reason.

Here’s dad around my current age, telling me something I’m dubious about.
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Smiles. Yes!

I suck at wallowing in self pity these days. After a day or two I hug my inner child and set my sadness on a mental shelf. That works until I start dreaming about whatever the issue is, which shows my subconscious is processing away.

So I’m bruised and battered by the last few days, but allowing myself to enjoy what’s good.

Smiling, but woozy still. And blurry.

I asked for some photos of old friends getting together for my overdue big project. The things that were shared made me all warm and fuzzy.

Friends who make you laugh make it hard to mope.

And Lee sent me a photo of Penney showing all her pug heritage by sleeping all wrinkly.

She was snoring when the picture was taken but is always smiling.

And of course, my constant companion Vlassic reminds me of what unconditional love means. That’s what I feel from my circle of close friends, who’ve been there for me, even while dealing with their own issues.

My precious. He’s smiling.

And that’s what I feel for my family. No matter what. Please tell your family if you feel the same.

Thanks to Everyone Who Ever Sent Me Flowers

Sad times come to everyone. It’s part of life. When you’re sad and feeling unloved, nothing beats having the people who do love and care about you remind you that you aren’t alone.

Flowers. They help.

Today, my therapist and friend listened to me, affirmed my experience, and gave me flowers. That’s about all you can do, but it means a lot!

These celosias, sunflowers, and marigolds liven up my fall display.
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Family Stuff and Coping

Tell you what, it’s been a whirlwind around here the past couple of days. Lots of it’s been fun, but there has also been challenging stuff.

Me looking tired, but proud of my pink glass decanter to go with my orange glass.

Kathleen, Lee, and I have made a kind of unspoken pact to just go with the flow as our plans constantly shift due to weird circumstances. We’ve just been trying to start a business, deal with an elder care challenge, and remodel a building.

You can’t be sad if you have cherry pie with a paw print on it.

But all sorts of paperwork issues, legal surprises, scallywaggery (I made that up), illnesses, and twists and turns have meant schedules and priorities change at a moment’s notice. I’m proud of how patient we’ve been, though I think I could do better.

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In Which I Try Poop Coffee*

*We were only calling it poop coffee or butt coffee as we laughed our way through our beverages…

The thing is, I always tell people I’m willing to try any food, at least once. So, when my colleague Chriztine decided she was interested in trying the coffee pictured at right, I (and two other coworkers) just had to say, “Yes.”

What does that mean, “zero contact with the animals?” Well, this is that coffee that’s passed through the digestive tract of the civet cat, which you may have heard of (many people think it goes through monkeys, but no). The sustainable part is important, because the poor little animals were being mistreated to get them to poop out enough beans to meet demand. We didn’t want anything to do with that!

So, according to the story on the bag, this is the nice version of the kipi luwak coffee.
Gimme some coffee. And don’t call me a weasel!

As a naturalist, I feel compelled to let you know that the civet is actually not a cat, and is more closely related to our friends, the mongoose family. I found this out in an article from Singapore, which informed me that “the special taste of these coffee is due to the fermentation process when the civets digest the beans.” MMMMM. Also I learned that this kind of coffee is called “weasel coffee” in Vietnam.

So, did I drink it?

First we spent a long time grinding the beans, during which time coworker Jen frequently reminded us that the roasting process will have killed off any germs or wee beasties living on the coffee. Whew.

You can tell they’re looking forward to this.

And then we poured hot water in and watched it drip. Was it chocolatey like Dipu thought? Were the beans old, like Jen thought? Were we all laughing too loud, like I thought?

Ready to give it a try. Note beautiful staging of coffee-making equipment.

Next, we all had to pose with our cups ready. And then we drank it. Guess what? It tasted very much like a cup of coffee. We didn’t detect any excessive smoothness or other fermentation results.

Yep. That’s coffee, all right.

But, since it was the most expensive cup of coffee any of us had ever imbibed, you can bet we all finished it. (Thanks, Chriztine.) We tried to get more people to drink it, but most flat-out refused, even when I politely stuck the cup under their noses and demanded, “Wanna smell my poop coffee?” So hilarious.

Rob painfully tastes the coffee. The new guy behind him got a good chuckle out of us. He was getting “pod coffee,” as we call the product from that machine (some like it; some don’t).

Rob here tried a tiny bit and said he did NOT like it. That will save him the investment of buying more if he did like it!

The best part of the day was making all the jokes and laughing away some of the work stress. I will say that I’m glad the only coffee I brought home was some medium-roast blends to drink in the mornings at the Bobcat Lair. No more poop coffee.

By the way, we have civets in Texas (ring-tail cats). Wonder what happens when they eat mequite beans?