Author Archives: zenzalei

About zenzalei

Writer with a bird. Or, more accurately, bird with a writer.

Sunday Stealing, December 18, 2022

My plans for December: 

Already had the office party and a couple of other events. For the rest of December, Season’s Greenings at the U.S. Botanic Garden, New Year’s Eve Game Night party at a friend’s, and not sure what else yet.

How energized I feel at this point in the year: 

VERY. I’m a cold-weather person. Went for a city walk with friends yesterday and the fresh cold air felt glorious.

The best things about the holiday season: 

Seeing friends, viewing all the displays, and all the celebrations.

Something that changed my perspective on life: 

My job. I write about mental health and substance use disorders, and I read and write about trauma a lot. The things people do to one another make it hard to keep the kibosh on my misanthropy.

But also, people, PLEASE, the stigma has got to stop. It is just one more trauma to the people who have mental illness and substance use disorders. No one ASKS to have a mental illness. No one ASKS to have a substance use disorder. If you have never had either of these, please consider yourself fortunate that you do not have the genetic make-up that challenges resiliency. No, I do not want to hear how you experienced trauma in your life and you’re fine. That is not the point. (And not for nothing, but people who say that are usually not fine, as that very statement speaks to a callousness that often springs from past trauma.) Everyone walks a different path. Everyone has a different experience.  Everyone has a different childhood. Everyone has a different level of resiliency. Everyone has a different family history and genetic make-up. The brain is living tissue and it is subject to injury just like anything else in your body.

What I seem to get the most comments about: 

The changes I’ve made to my style:

I’m slowly transitioning to my natural silver hair. Right now my hairdresser does very fine highlights that make me look blonde overall, but slowly but surely, I will be all silver. It will take a few years, as the hair in the back is a dark gray, but I’ll get to all silver eventually. Also, I don’t wear face make-up anymore. Laser treatments are a wonderful addition to my life.

What gets in the way of my success: 

Procrastination and impatience with people who are slow to catch on to the fact that not everyone has to do something the way they would do it.

News sources I trust the most:

Reuters, AP

Fictional characters that would easily fit into my life:

Skeeter Phelan, Andi Sachs, Prince Akeem (Google them if unfamiliar. It is a peeve of mine when people ask me things they can easily type into a search engine and learn for themselves. It will stick better that way, anyway.)

My relationship with spirituality: 

Atheist here, so not big on that.

How I feel when I’m being retrospective: 

Relieved. What’s done is done and what’s in the past is in the past. I often think, “So glad I don’t have to deal with that/him/her anymore.”

My thoughts on AI technology:

It makes hilarious artwork.

The odd/weird things I do when nobody else is around: 

Oh, I don’t hide my weirdness. I let my oddness out into the world. Deal with it.

What I do when I can’t sleep: 

Think about how I can’t sleep. Resent that people with night chronotypes are so judged and maligned.

The winter/holiday season tasks I enjoy: 

I don’t do tasks anymore. I don’t bother with decorating, holiday baking, etc. I used to enjoy making ribbons for gift-wrapping but I don’t really do gift exchanges anymore, either. Just a few friends, and a lot of that is having stuff delivered to them. Gotta say, I love not having a financial hangover in January.

A little good luck.

Me, running through my coworkers after winning an office holiday party raffle for the first time in a 34-year career:

I’m as excited about the tin as I am about the gift card inside.

Picked up these cute earrings at the drugstore, by Claire’s, for the party.

Also got some cute hair accessories. Claire’s is generally for teens and girls but when it comes to holiday earrings and minor accessories, all bets are off.

That’s all I’ve got tonight, kids.

Sunday Stealing, December 11, 2022

Missed a couple of days of Holidailies, but Sunday Stealing will get me back on track.

1. Wintertime comfort foods, habits, hobbies

Pasta with sauce with vegan sausage. Red wine. Jigsaw puzzles. Pajama days.

2. Favorite seasonal/holiday music and songs 

The old stuff, classic carols sung by Ethel Merman, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and Vic Damone. My mother went to high school with Vic Damone until he dropped out to support his family, so his “Deck the Halls” was a must whenever we hung up the holly. He also sung in the choir at the church where my parents were married many years later, St. Finbar’s in Brooklyn.

3. The people I want to spend more time with next year

My friends, a city explorers’ group I belong to, new people.

4. How much I could change my life in 1 year if I focused

Going on the past, everything: fitness, finances, career. Now if I only had focus!

5. The valuable lessons I learned this year 

No job is worth making yourself sick over. Of course I knew this all along, but now I REALLY know it.

6. How I’d describe 2022 in 10 words

Fun to start, then it went downhill from April onward. 

7. My favorite Reads of 2022 

Moloka’i and Daughter of Moloka’I, both by Alan Brennert. The first is the story of a girl who grows up in a leper colony on Moloka’i, the second is about her birth daughter, who ends up at an internment camp during WWII. I love stories about Hawai’i as I lived there for a year in my mid-20s.

8. Best movies I saw in 2022

None that I can remember. I have been more about binge-watching since the pandemic started. 

9. Favorite TV shows/episodes of 2022

Stranger Things, finally watched Downton Abbey and Westworld, and my favorite of the year, House of the Dragon. Ooh, I love that Targaryen hair.

If loving Daemon is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

10. Memorable experiences from 2022 

Took a day trip to Richmond in April. It was super hot and we did a lot of miles, but it was a lot of fun. I never spent time there before.

11. Three people I enjoyed spending time with this year 

Don’t make me choose just three. They read this.

12. How I handled challenges this year 

Took time off as needed.

13. What I’m leaving behind in 2022 

The ability of certain individuals to annoy me with their petty dramas, overblown anxiety, childish snits, and insecure power flexes.

14. How I changed most from beginning to end of the year 

I went largely vegan, but for mistakes and a few moments of weakness where I had milk chocolate. It’s a process. Also, to be honest, I became more of a misanthrope, too. The two are related, actually. I’m really disgusted with the way humanity treats animals.

15. What I want to tell myself before the New Year

Other people’s snits are more about them than about me.