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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Friday, January 7, 2022
7:16pm

That’s right, pm.

In spite of ALL THE PLANS to take it slow today, get my things done, have a little time to cook some things, spend a few minutes reflecting on my word, in the AM, none of that happened. As usual. The word today is “nevermakeplans”. It’s also “whydoibother” and “i’lltakethatcocktailnowplease”.

I do, in fact, have a cocktail beside me at the moment even though it’s not a very good one. I made the good one for Ralph. Which reminds me that I reminded myself about 25 times tonight to order new bourbon and still forgot.

I have a giant stock of various bourbon, rye and whiskey but of course not THE one that I want to make the drink with. The problem is that some of them are too good (and expensive) to put into a cocktail. So I use the cheaper ones for that. Unless it’s an Old Fashioned, because that’s way too bourbon forward to use something cheap and meh. So I need the not-too-expensive-and-not-too-cheap bourbon for that.

Basically the unicorn bourbon, which is the Leiper’s Fork bourbon, which we both like enough to keep running out of it.

There is enough to make a few more drinks. But since I know Ralph likes that one best, I save it for him until I can restock, and I use “whatever else” for my own drinks. Which usually ends up being something meh.

Tonight’s a real doozy. I had about an ounce left of Old Forester which I really did not like so I’ve been attempting to use that one up in cocktails, so I figured as long as I only have a little I may as well use it and not have the bottle taking up space, but that left me with another ounce that I had to accommodate, so long story short I ended up with an Old Fashioned made from two different meh bourbons.

That wasn’t a short story either way, and not very pointful, but it does speak to exactly how my brain feels today.

Brain: I want cookies.

I will not, however, be eating cookies. That’s how I got in trouble over the holidays and why I now have to spend all of my spare time on the Peloton and treadmill.

Brain: Give me cookies.

But I digress.

What was I saying?

Oh yeah, snow.

Wait… that was yesterday.

Brain: Cookies make me think better.

I had NO WORD today because I had no time to think of a word. I had no time to even remember that words exist.

My plans got derailed from pretty much the second I stepped out of the bedroom for reasons of client projects and life and things it would bore me to tears to have to relive or explain, not to mention that nobody in their right mind wants to hear them anyway.

Brain: Give me breakfast cookies.

It wasn’t until I was knuckle-deep in ground chicken tonight, with every square inch of counter space consumed by every potpanbowlknife I own, plus a bag of half chopped spinach, one overripe banana, four bags of animal crackers, and a smattering of melted butter around me, that the word materialized.

Whirlwind.

I am stuck in this whirlwind, I thought.

I am the whirlwind.

Then I dropped the frozen corn on the floor and embraced my destiny.

Brain: Now cookies?

My zen comes in moments.

Short ones.

A moment to roll quiche crust, a moment to appreciate snow, a moment to breathe in the scent of a candle or watch the car-alarm-bird sitting on my porch railing.

Mostly, I’m a living, breathing, multi-paragraph whirlwind.

Even at this moment, sitting with a (now) glass of wine in the mostly-dark with my best candles burning…

My brain is still whizzing around like an ice cube in a blender.

Writing is actually quite therapeutic. Not even because I get to express all the crazy in my head but because my hands don’t move as fast as my brain so I actually have to slow down thinking to get words on paper.

Since this project is supposed to entail “reflecting” I suppose I should reflect. Perhaps ponder questions like, why am I always in a whirlwind, and how do I not be?

Or even, does it really matter?

Truthfully, I kind of surrendered to the whole thing today. I knew everything was off the rails and going to stay that way so I just rolled with it. You really have to. The alternative is you sink into a pit straight through to the center of the earth and fossilize there.

It’s like that thing people say, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

I’ll unwhirlwind when I’m dead.

When I taught kindergarten, 10 months out of the year were pretty whirlwind-like. There was always a new game to make up or a new refrigerator box to turn into a castle or someone who needed a crayon or someone who took someone else’s crayon.

I can remember, all these years later, and it must be about 600? on my honeymoon, I was so intent on making sure I brought back fun things and presents for the kids that while most newlyweds were sitting in the pool bar, I ran around to every market I could find looking for interesting tidbits. And yes, Ralph is still with me.

I also remember the madness that was graduation because it had to involve plays and musical numbers and recitations and art installations and cake, like, a lot of cake, but not just any cake, super decorated special homemade graduation cake with a lot of hand-piping.

I whirlwinded through every June and then at some point

it was over

And I remember the hard stop that happened every year.

All the crazy leading up to the end and then…

nothing.

That feeling drove me crazy.

Having nowhere to rush to and nothing to plan or create or buy or do. Having nothing pressing down and coming up and OHMYGOSH it has to get done!!!!!

There were a lot of exclamation points involved for a long time and then… not even a comma.

And maybe this is where the reflection finally leads. Maybe the whirlwind is my natural state of being. Maybe, like Georgiana in Nathanial Hawthorne’s story The Birth-Mark, the whirlwind is my mortal flaw and the thing keeping me alive at the same time.

Maybe I thrive in the space inside the disaster.

Maybe, once the client project is over and the chicken is safely in the pot, I won’t know what to do with myself period hard stop no exclamation points.

Or maybe I’ll actually have time to sit down and write in full sentences instead of random stream of consciousness.

One last thought has popped into my ice cube blender brain as this reflection winds down.

I was just remembering how when Ralph and I moved into our condo, we decorated in what is typically referred to as “a riot of color”.

We – and I exaggerate not – had a blue couch and pink chair and yellow chair and multicolored ottoman and one red wall and one blue wall and so many knickknacks that “dusting” was something you said about a snowfall and never a chore you did on a Saturday.

We also had a guest room that we used more as a hangout room, and it had a purple couch and burgundy curtains and a chair with a gold cushion and some outrageous Pollack-style artwork and a bunch of African masks and some purple shelves with… more knickknacks.

I loved it sososososososo much.

Then there was The Great Flood, which involved a busted hot water heater, much tearing down of sheetrock, and six months of remodeling, and we decided to go super zen.

We did everything in neutral tones with earthy décor and clean lines. We had caramel colored sofas and golden chairs and sand curtains. We had a wall made out of stone and a backsplash made of travertine.

I loved it sososososososo much.

But after a while I missed the wild explosion. Not the dusting, though.

Honestly, I never have figured out how people work, cook, live, exist, quite possibly take care of children, and still manage to dust the TV.

At any rate, we live in an apartment now where in three years we have quite literally never hung a single thing on a single wall, but we have a blue couch and a gray chair and red placemats and tiny lights in colorful jars.

It’s a complete disaster, and the other day as I was doing yoga in the living room there was a pea on my mat, I suspect one of the few that rolled off my counter.

So I’m thinking that the whirlwind is maybe where I belong.

And maybe all the meditating and breathing and writing about the crazy is all so that I can continue to whirlwind as needed.

It’s just that… once in a while, once every 27th Friday or so, I really wish I could just get up out of bed and do the thing I planned to do, without the drama that is my life.

The good news is that I think after many, many words, I have actually reflected myself into accepting it as how it is. The other good news is that wine helps. And it has fewer calories than cookies.

Photo: a tiny bottle of wine from a wine Advent calendar sent to us by some good friends in 2021, with a glass sent to me by another good friend.

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