7:01pm Shoveled my mother-in-law’s driveway. Dusting of snow. Pulled car up. Forgot garage code. Called Kate. No answer. Tried the back door. Locked. Burglaries this time of year, mother-in-law says. Back at garage code. Dug deep into frigid finger memory. Finally door lifts. Loud shovel. Hack at frozen tire tracks. Plow around the parked car. Back up. Clean the rest. 19 degrees F. Harsh dark outside. Shortest day soon. 

7:19pm An hour—I’d guess—before I have to pick up Kate and the baby. They’re visiting Kate’s sister. Chatting. Asked if I wanted to come or take some chill time. I opted for chill time. The Love trio spent the afternoon with aunt and uncle. Woman in a chair. Man with his mind on fire. German Shepherd the size of a horse with white fur. Talked Trump, X-mas past, puppy chow with Colorado green inside, spaghetti sauce, buying land, and whether I wronged Delta by playing the subpoena card to get the $150 flight change fee waived. Good people. 

7:30pm Coconut milk diluted with water, heated in the microwave. Watch it go round and round. Too little cognitive resources to wait for boil. Add 30 seconds. Echinacea tea. Half of Minnesota is coughing, limping with flu. I sip slowly, cradling the cup. And the quiet. 

The last two days I’ve squinted at myself and now I see two selves. The reflex thought self that’s negative, says no, is fragile fear. And then the awareness new me 2.0 that’s like mmmm I could also totally choose to chill. Which is quite the realization. And I’ve applied 2.0 decently well on the marital communication front. But in two days of experimental trials, this technique of distancing myself from Voice 1 and hearing Voice 2 and choosing Voice 2 doesn’t work so well on the baby in other people’s arms battle. Which means what? Thinking this fear stemmed from dead-mom syndrome, I asked my sister if she was nuts with other people holding her 6mo baby. Nope, she said. Just me. Which doesn’t bode well for my dead mom theory. Mom snatched from me, my deepest subconscious fear is the same thing happens to EllieRoo. And it presents as controlling parenting. I get it intellectually. I recognize that other people pose no danger for Ellie. But when I let go of the controls, I’m sweating bullets on the inside. Honestly giving up alcohol for a year was easier. Didn’t go as deep. 

7:45pm I’m listening to YouTube play a song called The Isle of Arran by this dude named Loyle Carner. An hour ago, the radio man with a British accent played Loyle as I was driving. Soul song, you could say. Car soars over an icy bridge. Around me, headlights like a train of yellow fireflies swam by. I’m tempted to say listening the first time was the most alive I felt all day but I don’t know if that’s true. How do you know what’s true when there’s no sunlight at this time of year? Listening #2 feels like white noise, like snow molecules humming om as they fall into one another. I guess magic only gives you one shot.  

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