Super Whey Extra

Inspired by the many posts I’ve seen encouraging reducing plastic usage during Lent, and armed with a new instant pot; I’ve decided to try my hand at yogurt making. I gotta say, the process was way easier than anticipated, and the yogurt is actually good (and, as an added and somewhat unexpected bonus: it looks, tastes, and smells like yogurt). This is groovy because it saves money AND the two plastic containers I typically put in the recycling bin each week. BUT, there’s always a but. I like thick (Greek style, I suppose you could say) yogurt and the straining yields a lot of whey. The photo below is after straining just half of my first batch.

The interwebs have all sorts of suggestions for using this byproduct. Soak your grains! Use it in pizza crust! Fix your soil’s pH! Cook your pasta in it! Use it to feed your livestock! I’ve used exclamation points because enthusiasts always seem very excited about the many uses for whey!!!!

Problem is, I don’t make pizza crust, or measure the pH of my soil, or soak grains, or own livestock; and throwing it in when I’m boiling pasta weirds me out a bit.

There are uses that seem more feasible to me: putting it in smoothies, substituting for buttermilk, using as the acid when making a vinaigrette, or mixing into pet food.

While I’m sure my pup would love a little extra zing in her kibble, these options still strike me as odd, and perhaps a little too hippy dippy for a conventional gal like myself.

So, I’m asking you wise people. Do you ever have extra whey, sitting around, looking a li’l like a urine sample in your fridge (you can take the girl outta the lab…)? Have you found a great use for it? Have you tried any of the suggested uses that you’d highly recommend? I’d seriously love to hear from you.

In the interest of posting a photo that doesn’t resemble urine, I give you yogurt, made by yours truly. Oddly cropped, because the sides of the jar are messy and I don’t give AF. #NotAFoodPhotographer

Oh, Ash Wednesday

Oh, Ash Wednesday. Like so many occasions this year, I underestimated how hard you’d be this time around. I’m certain it’s a function of ignorance, or denial, or both.

Was there any chance that hearing ‘you are dust and to dust you shall return’ in the presence of the ashes of she who imposed them upon my forehead last year would be anything less than gut wrenching?

No, of course not.

And yet, I sit here again, shocked at the depth of feeling. Surprised by how much it hurts to remember the year she stood before us, with tears streaming down her own face as she imposed ashes on all of us; because she’d just lost her father. Bewildered that, even though it does bring a smile to my face, I can’t help but tear up remembering her tell the story of one of her pastoral colleagues, who burned something she shouldn’t have when making ashes for the service (hardwood, of some sort, I think?). When mixed with water, those ashes formed lye and burned the image of the cross on parishioners’ foreheads. I can’t remember why she shared that story, or who she was sharing it with (confirmation kids, I think). Oh, how I wish I could remember every last detail. Of everything she ever said to us.

I recall being told ashes for imposition are made by burning the branches from the previous year’s Palm Sunday. I have no idea if that’s what happens at my church or not, but for today I’m choosing to believe it is. That the ashes currently upon my head came from palms she waved. Whether or not it’s true, I like the thought.

I’m not giving up anything for Lent, and I’m not undertaking any new disciplines for the next 40 days, but I am aspiring to be more present and in the moment when walking through my daily life, and to do so with gratitude. Such things are not inherently in my nature, so I’ll be channelling my inner-Stephanie, who was the most present person I’ve ever known. What a gift we were given.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 18-0325_palmsunday_186.jpg

I Tried Noom for Two Weeks. You’ll Never Guess What Happened Next.

Now that I’ve provided you with your daily dose of click bait, let’s move on. But one of the first things that happened was, I shit you not, I gained two pounds.

And, can I go ahead and say I’m feeling plenty of disdain and disbelief about the fact that I’m writing a blog post about weight loss? Life is definitely like a box of chocolates, this is where I am this week. Hashtag insert shoulder shrug emoji here.

I don’t know if everybody sees the incessant Facebook ads for Noom, or if they’re more specifically pointed to middle aged ladies who blog and repeatedly mention they’ve got 20 plus pounds (let’s just go with 20, ummmmmKAY??) to lose; but after months of them yelling at me about how fat I’d gotten (ok, they maybe weren’t exactly yelling, and their messaging may have been a bit more nuanced, but whatevs), I finally clicked on the link after the first of the year. My intent was simply to go to their website and learn a little more. Which you can’t really do, because they direct you to a questionnaire about your goals and whatnot, which resulted in them telling me, “of course you can lose 30 pounds by April!!!,” and then offering me a free two week trial.

I have, essentially, zero experience with dieting. When my kids were little and I was trying to figure out what being a stay at home mom was going to look like for me, our family joined the YMCA. More days than not, I took advantage of the available two hours of childcare. Not because I was terribly enthused about working out, but because the thought of being able to take an uninterrupted shower in the locker room while someone kept my kids from sticking a fork into an electrical socket was HIGHLY motivating. But, I worked out too, usually in the form of slogging out six miles on the treadmill or participating in a group cycle class. Through the Y, Chris and I spent one spring/summer in a triathlon club (I did exactly one triathlon and, I shit you not, was the LAST person out of the water for the swim portion), and then a run club. For a handful of years, fitness became social for us. We were a fit family, and I was certain we always would be. I had zero fear of the screeching halt that would come to my exercise and metabolism when I hit my late 30’s and early 40’s. I didn’t pay attention to what I ate, because I didn’t need to. There was plenty of uncertainty in our lives during those years, but by God, I had health and fitness figured out to an absolutely annoying degree. I hereby apologize for incessantly inundating you with status updates about marathon training and the joys of running. Cue the Indigo Girls: Every five years or so I look back on my life and I have a good laugh.

Anyhoo. Back to Noom. What harm could a two week trial do, right? They sucked me in, I gave it a go. Not because I really anticipated I’d lose 30 pounds in 16 weeks (because framing it like that made it feel impossible for me), but because somewhere they wrote something to the effect of ‘participants typically lose 1-2 pounds per week.’ Something about that statement seemed manageable, doable, sustainable. I’d tried signing up for marathons and half marathons to get myself back on track. I’d tried the Whole 30. I’d tried simply eating and drinking like a reasonable human being on my own, and had simply ended up getting heavier.

Within the two week trial, I rode a weight loss roller coaster. I quickly dropped nearly three pounds, then managed to be four pounds heavier than my starting weight, but ended up 2.2 pounds down from where I started. I’m not sure why I’m telling you that, because I don’t think the weight loss (or gain) numbers had anything to do with me deciding to go ahead and continue the program. The ever-present, super pessimistic punk sitting on my shoulder was loudly telling me there was no point. I can’t tell you why, but I decided to stay on anyway. There was likely some desperation involved, as I was damn near as heavy as I was when ready to expel the babes from my uterus. Certainly heavier than I’d ever been in a non-pregnant state.

I’m currently half way through the 16 week program. It consists of food tracking, weekly check-ins with a coach via text, a support group of sorts, eating lots of low calorie dense foods (think fruits, vegetables, and other foods intended for rabbits) and limiting high calorie dense food (think pizza, steak, enchiladas, tacos, and other foods that make life worth living), and about 10 minutes a day worth of reading- mostly psychology type stuff relating to mindful eating, dealing with stress, handling set-backs, learning to eat healthy in the real world, et cetera, et cetera.

From the half way point, here’s what I can tell you: I’ve lost 10 pounds in eight weeks, some of them repeatedly. That is to say, the roller coaster ride has continued. My initial reaction to having some gains to go with the losses has repeatedly been defeatist, but I’ve managed to keep going, and the overall trend is what I’d hoped it would be. The daily readings have provided some much needed perspective when I’ve struggled. It provides for some grace when I screw up, and uses terminology like ‘limit,’ instead of ‘exclude.’ These are definite bonuses for me.

Of course, complete and total head case that I am, I keep beating myself up for having needed to spend money for a program to tell me things I already knew. And I keep thinking it’s only a matter of time until I go back to being completely sedentary and eating like an idiot (I’m going to be south of the Mason-Dixon line for two weeks in March and can taste the fried chicken already); because, that’s just how I do.

And yet, I can’t help but feel a twinge of optimism. I’m no longer filled with dread on days when I have to put on jeans. It’s easier to zip my coat. I kind of sort of enjoy going to the basement to ride the exercise bike again. I guess, if nothing else, I suppose it will be interesting to revisit this post in eight weeks.

Grief Hides in the Church __________.

Fill in the blank, I guess.

Since September of last year, visits to my church have more often than not included crying. Occasionally it’s been graceful, silent tears streaking down my cheeks; but more commonly it’s been body-wracking sobs complete with seemingly desperate gasps for air, resulting from me trying to contain said crying and failing miserably. And snot. There is typically lots and lots of snot. I cannot remember the last time I cleaned my purse and didn’t pull out handfuls of used tissues. It has not been pretty, folks.

So yesterday, when I came across an article entitled Grief Hides in the Church Bathroom, which is well worth your time, for what it’s worth, especially if you’re going to continue reading the tripe I’m writing here; I had a self-righteous moment of ‘thank God it’s not like that in MY church.’

Truth be told, that initial reaction, for me, was, if not completely delusional, then at least lacking in scope. Because in the 12-ish years our family has attended our local mainline, albeit progressive, Lutheran church; there have been countless occasions when I pasted on a smile, walked into church, recited the words in the bulletin, sang the songs, and acted like everything was A-OK. All while simultaneously falling apart on the inside.

I’ve written here about how I love my church because I feel ok admitting to being broken when there. I feel fairly safe typing that now, but 10 years ago; at a time when shit was really hitting the fan in my family*, I most definitely did NOT feel comfortable sharing our brokenness with my church community. It required a helluva lot of cognitive dissonance, because I knew I should have been able to be open about this aspect of our lives at church, but I simply couldn’t do it.

I’d like to be able to blame our silence and secrecy on my faith community, but there were many factors which kept Chris and me from wanting to share this part of our lives with anyone, let alone our church people. Which was ludicrous, because it was consuming damn near each and every one of our thoughts at the time. We were still relatively new to the church, we were still relatively new to parenthood, and we were just starting to feel like we were finding a groove in terms of living/adulting/parenting in Minnesota.** We were, I think, looking to pretend it simply wasn’t happening. We did come to a point where church leadership knew what we were going through, as did some of our closer church friends; but for the most part we didn’t talk about it at the one place we should have felt safe being authentic about our struggles: church.

I have two very specific and vivid church related memories from this period in my life. In one, we were in a circle of parents going around sharing highs and lows, and I stated that we were doing well(!) and had no current issues troubling us. It was such a complete and total crock of shit. At this point I can look back and laugh, but at the time I was thoroughly disgusted with myself for putting on such a facade.

My second vivid memory is communion on Palm Sunday, the day our family member left to self-report to a federal prison. During a prayer, the pastor had said something about praying for the imprisoned (not uncommon in our services). As I ate the bread and as the pastor poured wine into my little ceramic cup, tears streamed down my face and I had to work really damn hard at holding that cup steady so as to not spill wine all over the damn place. Prior to this fall, it’s one of the few times I remember crying in church (I’ve admittedly had a couple of ugly cries on All Saints Sundays). Nevertheless, before finishing our communion ritual, which in our church involves standing in a circle, I pulled myself together, wiped my eyes, and walked back to my seat as if nothing were amiss. It was a rare moment of graceful, contained emotion for me; drastically different from what has occurred in recent months.

So, I’ve apparently reached a healthier place in terms of owning emotion in church. Again, reasons for this are multitude. We’ve all been traversing the awful road of unexpectedly losing a pastor together, we’ve repeatedly been told to honor and share our grief, and I no longer count myself as a new member, which has made it easier for me to be real. Also, depression. Much as I’d have liked to have been able to control my emotions, there’s no way I could have.

And yet.

I still frequently feel a fair amount of disdain with myself for not being able to hold it together. And even though I’ve known it was ok to show emotion, I’ve been in a minority for doing so, because even after over a year of very intentionally building beloved community; our congregation is still largely made up of Scandinavian Lutherans. Speaking in generalities, which one really shouldn’t do (but I will, because it’s my blog), they are a lovely population. That doesn’t mean they aren’t a stoic crew, though.

And, despite any progress I’ve made in this department; most of the folks I worship with have no idea of the angst I’m typically dealing with in terms of raising our teenaged son. Other readers here really don’t either, as I’m still walking a tightrope where I balance his right to privacy with being fully truthful with my writing (though it’s possible I’m going to throw his right to privacy very soon, because this kid is bringing me to my knees on a damn near daily basis). My kids’ right to privacy within our church, though, really shouldn’t be an obstacle. If there’s any safe place to talk about what we’re going through, it’s our church. But even after 12 years there, finding what feels like the appropriate time to share our struggles feels challenging. I still feel a need to be strong, to present a brave face, to tell folks everything is ok, to seem like I have my shit together.

So, does this article represent my church? No, I don’t think it does. I don’t believe there is any expectation of my grief being relegated to the bathroom (or, as pointed out by my friend Katherine, the stairs behind the sanctuary). I believe our community has a pretty profound respect for grief and authenticity.

And yet,

I still find it really hard to share the whole, complete Anne. It’s exponentially easier for me to blather on about it from behind my laptop. Like most other things pertaining to me, it makes zero sense. For now, I suppose it’s good enough to know I’m welcome to be authentic. Now I just need to learn how to make it happen. And oh, my heart, how I’d like to sit down and hash all this out with Pastor Stephanie.

——————————————————————————————————————–

*Reader’s Digest condensed version: we had a close family member in trouble with the law, it was completely unexpected, there was seven or eight years of prison time involved, and it was altogether unpleasant and heartbreaking in any number of ways, and it should be a whole post unto itself, but what the hell; I guess for today it’ll just be a vaguely explanatory footnote

**We LOVE Minnesota, and after nearly 19 years here, I can tell you we wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. But breaking into the local culture was challenging. You can read more in this timeless article.

Music Therapy with a Side of Happiness Infusion

I don’t really have the words to describe the response to my previous post. The interwebs and social media worlds definitely straddle the fence between good and evil in my mind. There are valuable connections to be made from behind my laptop monitor, but of course, it can also be a festering cesspool of hateful garbage at times. But, your outpouring of love, support and commiseration was lovely. It is good to be reminded that there is, indeed, a lot of beauty in this hard world.

Four days after posting, I hopped a plane to Missouri, where my family laid to rest my Grandpa Elzy, effectively wrapping up a generation, as he was the last grandparent Chris and I had. For a slew of reasons, I made the journey without my immediate family. I’m just going to say the relationship between my grandfather and me was complex, and far from ideal. And, he lived a long, full life, so saying goodbye was largely unemotional. It did, however, leave me scatterbrained enough to miss the therapy appointment I had scheduled for the day after my return. Can I use my so-called depressive episode as an excuse for my inability to read a calendar? I hope so.

However, I can tell you there were no calendar mishaps when it was time for me to board a plane to Mexico a week later. Today I am finishing out an entire week of days by the pool, hours upon hours of reading, meals I didn’t have to prepare or clean up after, and four nights of amazing shows, all featuring bad ass women performers. Again, I lack the words to describe it, but can confidently tell you I’m blissed out with gratitude to have had this time.

I’m going to tell you about this music festival now, not in an effort to brag or make you jealous (although it likely will make you jealous), but it was amazing on a number of fronts and needs to be talked about.

For the past two years, Chris and I have attended Avett Brothers At The Beach at the same resort. Both years were phenomenal. All the luxuries of being at an all inclusive resort AND evenings filled with live music by some of our favorite artists. A few months ago the Avett Brothers announced they would not be doing a third year of the festival, and Chris and I had an epic big sad. BUT, a few months later Brandi Carlile announced she would be putting on Girls Just Wanna Weekend, and we did not so much as blink twice before signing up.

Therapy comes in many forms. This week it’s been massive amounts of vitamin D and girl power. In the form of music (Brandi, Indigo Girls, Maren Morris, Lucius, Mavis Staples, Shawn Colvin, KT Tunstall, Ruby Amanfu, and The Secret Sisters), but also in the form of being around so many people who were just so damn happy. The constituency of this event was overwhelmingly female (though Brandi made it crystal clear from the get-go that all would be welcomed, and I don’t think the handful of men here had anything less than a stellar time). In addition to being overwhelmingly female, the crowd was also overwhelmingly lesbian. Chris ended up having to miss the event for a work trip (work is bullshit, y’all), so I ended up here with my friend Angie. It was either fully apparent that we’re just friends, or folks thought we were some sort of self-loathing suppressed version of lesbians who don’t really touch one another. That’s a lame attempt at humor, but what I’m getting at is that we were in the minority as straight women. Which shouldn’t really even be worth noting, but that simply isn’t the world we live in.

Obviously, as a straight white person, being a minority anywhere is pretty damn usual for me. And this event reiterated how much I take that fact for granted. Not that being a minority was a bad thing in this case, in fact it was pretty damn fanatic, because it felt like being in the midst of a large group of people collectively letting out a sigh of exhalation. Of course, it could have just been the sun, or the utter lack of responsibility, but I’m inclined to believe there was more to it than that. I would guess that nearly all of these women have spent at least some share of their life having to be less than truthful about who they are and who they love- a phenomenon I’ve been fortunate to not experience, because I really can’t imagine how that would feel or how I would deal with it.

But there was simply none of that here. The only other people I knew here were Lauren, diaconal minister at my beloved church, and her wife Michelle. Michelle posted on Facebook about how this was effectively the first time they’ve been on vacation together without everyone assuming they were friends or sisters, and how amazing that was. While I have a fairly vivid imagination, I can’t fathom what it would be like if everyone assumed Chris was my brother anytime we went somewhere. I’m fairly certain I’d have a nervous breakdown at best, or completely lose my shit at worst.

So, this occasion, one of the few being a minority wasn’t actually like being a minority at all. At one point, while sitting by the pool, Angie looked over at me and said, “There is so much happiness here that I could just cry.” I couldn’t argue with it.

all photos courtesy of the girls just wanna Facebook page

Except these. These would be Angie and me enjoying dinner with The Indigo Girls. Well, maybe not really with them, but GAH.

My So-Called Segway

If I have a doppelgänger, it’s Claire Danes. Not the bipolar Princeton alum who studied Arabic language and became a CIA agent Homeland version, but rather the angsty teen with questionable fashion sense from My So-Called Life.

While, like Carrie Mathison, I can accurately be described as mental; there is simply no way I could pull off the pantsuits and stilettos like she does. Plus, she’s blond, whereas Angela Chase had lovely auburn locks, much like yours truly. Of course, Angela also typically had pretty perfect makeup, and, as I recall, some sort of on again off again thing with Jared Leto’s character; so I suppose our similarities end with the hair.

At any rate, comparing myself to My So-Called Life‘s Angela Chase seems as reasonable a segue into My So-Called Depressive Episode as any.

By the way, I just learned, as in I looked it up in another tab of my browser, that segue is spelled ‘segue’ and not segway, because segway is but the trademarked name of Paul Blart’s mall cop vehicle. Who knew? What I’m saying here, is that five minutes ago I thought segue was spelled segway. I’ve always prided myself on above average spelling, so this may intensify my so-called depressive episode.

Image result for paul blart segway
This is not a segue.

I digress. As usual. Pay no mind to my persistent inability to focus.

After a fall season where my affect, productivity, and ability to give a shit were even lower than usual (which is really damn low) and a recent knock-down, drag-out fight with my spouse of 20 years (praise Jesus there’s not an easy button for divorce because I was admittedly not thinking too terribly rationally), I had a long overdue appointment with a therapist last Tuesday. Is it normal to burst into tears when someone you’ve never met before says to you, “So, what’s been going on?”. Surely it is, no?? At the end of my bawl fest and after some quality conversation, she talked about how I’m in a ‘depressive episode.’ And I was like, duh, why else would I be sitting here paying $140 to cry on your couch?

My So-Called Depressive episode (I don’t know why the hell I’m calling it that, I guess it seems more sexy than simply ‘depressive episode,’ or perhaps I wanted to be able to break up all this super fun depression talk with some banter about segues and segways) is not likely news to anyone who knows me or even those I’ve never met who’ve simply read this blog over the past few months. Likewise, it wasn’t news to me. And obviously I haven’t worked real heard at hiding it, what with my ever-present scowl and piss poor attitude about everything from packing for a family vacation to Thanksgiving holiday. And those who live with me will readily tell you how difficult I’ve been to live with.

Since I’ve never been normal, I can’t say what a normal person’s response to hearing they’re in the midst of a depressive episode would be. I can tell you, though, that my reaction was mostly one of release. Despite the stigma around mental illness, I guess the former scientist in me was relieved to be able to point to a reason why I frequently found myself rendered catatonic by the conflicting demands of my family: We must keep the kitchen counters and island clean./Don’t move my {homework/camera/notecards/whatever} off the island. And overwhelmed by my inability to get my kid to turn in all his homework. And disproportionately frustrated with my children pitching fits about going to church. And utterly hopeless about the prospect of us surviving the Trumptocracy. And super exasperated with myself for not simply being able to get my shit together.

Prior to last week, my response to all these feelings had been super healthy: Screw it. I can’t make anybody happy. I’m gonna take a nap. And eat a bunch of shitty food. And drink too much wine. Because treating depression with depressants makes as much sense as anything else in my life.

Of course, all this simply made me feel even shittier. I was in what you might call a vicious cycle.

Today I sit here, a week after my initial therapy appointment. I’ve also been to see my doctor (I’ll insert a huge shout out to family practice physicians here, because a good one is worth his or her weight in gold) and tweaked my dosage of sertraline (zoloft), which I’ve been on for close to a decade, I think (remember I’m terrible with time and dates). Simply taking the long overdue step of getting some help and putting a name to what’s been going on in my psyche has been hugely helpful in putting a cog in the wheel of my vicious cycle. Helpful enough, in fact, that I’ve been exercising, and eating better, and drinking way less.

I cannot lie, though, I deal with some twisted form of denial or perhaps unworthiness of the ‘depressed’ descriptor; like I’m somehow taking away something from folks who are really depressed. I mean, I’ve never had thoughts of hurting myself or anyone else. I’ve always managed to keep my kids fed and in clean clothes. So why the hell was I not able to manage this on my own, pull myself up by my bootstraps? It’s a stupid and illogical line of thinking, BUT THIS IS WHAT I DEAL WITH, friends.

I am, for now, able to somewhat get over myself and be grateful that last week was WAY better than the one before, and this one seems to be even better yet. I know such a trend can’t carry on indefinitely, but I fully intend to enjoy the upswing for as long as I’m on it.

See how alike we are? I may be depressed, but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna give up my ability to laugh at me.

Also, my beloved set up a new blog using my wordpress account, and now all my posts say they’re written by Kelly Holt. I guess in this case, that’d be me.

Your Fall Might Have Been a Shitshow If…

Your Holiday ‘Letter’ is Only Four Sentences Long.

I fully admit arrogance when I tell you I’ve sent end of year letters for most years of the past decade, and they’re typically well received, perhaps even looked forward to. Not by everyone, but those in similar stages of life (having been married for a decade or three, deep in the throes of the highs and lows of parenthood, and one or both adults fully steeped in momentum phase of a career) tend to appreciate them. I work hard to strike a balance of boastfulness (Thing one excelled in debate this year! Thing two continues to enjoy soccer and ski racing! Husband continues to be employed! We took lots of great trips!) and self-deprecation of our family (My kids stink! They are so sassy! I am a lazy unemployed mom! The only reason we’re able to take great trips is because my husband travels for work WAYYY too much and amasses frequent flier miles!). They’re a pretty solid reflection of this blog, I guess. Not for everyone. A little too honest. Loved by a small, devoted following, yet maligned by many (particularly those I live with).

Last year there was no letter or even a card. Most likely because we broke a many years long tradition of having our photos taken, usually in a park surrounded by beautiful Minnesota fall foliage; and I wasn’t compelled to sit down and obsess over the perfect template to express our perfect lives and perfectly address and stamp them and send them on their way to our fellow perfect friends and families. And sending a letter without a card seemed a little too unconventional, even for yours truly.

This year, we again missed the boat on having our photos taken. It’s a fact that stirs up a fair amount of guilt in me, because the guy that always took our pictures is old school. He’s probably at least 65 years old and still has a studio, which he had to relocate a few years back so his rent would be lower. The lion’s share of his income results from selling prints, and they’re really damn expensive. I’m talking out of my ass here, per usual, because I don’t really know the ins and outs of modern photographers, but he seems like a dying breed; and we’re doing our part to ensure his extinction. Thus my guilt.

Going two years without sending anything was out of the question even for me, the christened Christmas hater who wants a fake tree, so I sat down to put together a card. I spent about a fourth of the time I historically would choosing photos (even when we had a professional portrait, I always included some of my favorite snap shots from the year) and putting together a card. Partly because I seem to take fewer photos with each passing year (dumb), and partly because my give a shit meter was just barely off zero.

BUT, by golly, I put a card together. And, I sat down to put together a letter. Even just a brief one that could be printed on the back.

But.

If you’re on my mailing list, your card will be in today’s mail. The letter will not, because I simply couldn’t get it done. I lacked the attention span and energy to try and portray 2018 as anything less than a shitshow. And, I feel guilty about it, because the year did give me a lot to be thankful for. My family is here. We are healthy. We traveled extensively. We have everything we need and a whole lot more.

But.

The heavy things felt extra heavy this year. Whether that’s an indicator of the state of the world or my state of mind isn’t something we need to discuss. Because, let’s face it, the answer is pretty obvious.

And yet.

While this post has a pretty damn downtrodden feel to it, I give thanks for being in a place in life where I don’t have to paint everything in rosy shades. And people who meet me where I am, day after whiny day. Friends and family who are ok with ‘good enough.’ Because when I look back at my card, I realize I had photos that would’ve been better if I’d spent a little more time looking. And when I plugged in ‘holt’ to the place where one is to put their family name, I apparently should have had the caps lock on, because it’s lower case in the midst of a line that’s all upper case. It looks super damn silly.

But ya know what? I don’t care. It’s good enough. And so am I and so are you. Here’s to being here. And all the good and bad times that 2019 will inevitably bring. Huge thanks to those who ride the roller coaster with me. I’m grateful.

Yes, WordPress, Shitshow is indeed a compound word in my world.