Retreat

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. I took Monday and Tuesday off this week, but I still keep thinking today is Friday. Such is life.

Monday afternoon I drove up to Duluth for a quick solo retreat to try to reset my brain a bit. I skipped class Monday night in favor of journaling and introspective time, which was lovely. I came away from that with some insights I’m still wrestling with and will be bringing with me to therapy later today.

Tuesday morning I checked out of the hotel, parked near the lake, and went for a walk. Lake Superior was the calmest I’ve seen her in awhile, and it was just what my soul needed.

I popped into the mall at Fitgers for a quick stop at the bookstore (a tradition whenever I’m in Duluth) and at the pet supply store (to get a souvenir for Nova), and then decided I had done what I set out to do, and wanted to head home earlier than I’d originally planned to allow me some relaxed time in my own space before starting back into work on Wednesday. It was a very quick trip, but it was a fruitful one, I think.

Yesterday was a pretty normal Wednesday; today is already feeling a bit scrambled, because I have a medical appointment in the middle of the day that meant I had to shift some other appointments around to tomorrow. But it’ll all work out.

Please enjoy these photos of Nova, and I hope you all find something in this week that brings you joy!

Taking Time, Taking Care

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! I kept thinking Tuesday should have been Thursday this week, so I’m glad we’re finally here.

I’ve been struggling to focus this week. There’s a lot that needs to get done for school and work has been busy and I’m continuing to figure out new routines in the rest of my life and everything just feels like a lot. I’m wrestling with some anxiety and have just generally felt down.

There are good things happening, too, though. Sunday I played D&D with a new group for the first time, and it was a lot of fun. And last night an old friend gave us four tickets to the final St. Paul Saints game of the season, so we got to enjoy a baseball game with my husband’s dad and godmother:

There’s a lot that I’m grateful for right now, but also I can feel myself hurtling toward some level of burnout. So, I decided to take Monday and Tuesday off next week and take myself on a little solo retreat up north. I’m hoping it gives my brain a bit of a reset.

I hope you’re all hanging in there. As always, I leave you with some recent Nova photos:

Rollercoaster Week

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. I, for one, am very much ready for the weekend – I’ve been about a day ahead of myself all week, so waking up to the news that today is, in fact, Thursday and not Friday was a bit of a disappointment.

This has been a week of big feelings in a lot of different directions. I started the week off with some rough medical news that means starting on two new medications along with some other changes to routine. I’ll be fine – I have a fabulous doctor and a solid care plan and it’s all entirely treatable – but it was a heavy way to start the week. On the other end of things, we’ve convinced my best friend to move back to Minnesota and into our building, which has me so excited I don’t know what to do with myself! I’m looking forward to turning our lives into a sitcom.

Work has continued to be busy; my third new hire started on Monday and the first one started taking tickets this week. Everyone seems to be getting along great with the team and ramping up quickly, so that’s a relief.

I am grateful that I have therapy today and can work through some of my big feelings. I am grateful that the weekend is almost here and that I’m going to get to play D&D this weekend. I am doing my best to hold space for all of my feelings, including that gratitude.

I’ll leave you, as always, with new Nova content. She went to the dog park over the weekend and had a great time digging a hole:

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! It has felt like a whilrwind of a week.

Friday I headed out to the PNW to visit my best friend, because it had been too long and she’s been struggling. It was a pretty brief visit bookended by two pretty long travel days, but it was absolutely worth it to be able to hug her and hang out. It made me think more about queer community and how we look out for each other and show up for each other. I’m grateful to the friends and others who have modeled that generosity and love for me, and grateful that I have the resources to be able to be there for the people that I care about. It was hard to leave my friend, and it’s also nice to be home now that my husband and Nova are here consistently, too.

I ended up calling off from work on Monday – didn’t get home until around midnight Sunday night and I woke up with a pretty bad headache. After sleeping in and finishing my homework, I had my first session of my second fall class Monday night, which went well. I am a bit intimidated by this class, but I think it’s going to be good.

Yesterday I got my covid booster and my flu shot. So far I’m feeling mostly okay…ever-so-slightly feverish and a little achy, but not awful. Hoping I make it through the day at work.

I don’t have a whole heck of a lot else to report this week, but I’ll leave you with your weekly Nova fix:

Off-Kilter

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! It’s been another kind of weird week here, as my husband has still been helping their mom and brother out this week. We’ve been shuttling Nova between the apartment and my in-laws’ house every couple of days, since I’ve had some evening appointments and she doesn’t love being left alone (plus grandma and grandpa’s house has very exciting windows that look out on a yard with bunnies and squirrels – she loves it there).

It’s going to continue to be a bit of an off-kilter week, too – my husband is picking their dad up at the airport this evening and they’ll be coming home with Nova tonight, but then tomorrow I’m flying out to WA to visit my best friend for the weekend. It’ll be a very quick trip, but I’m excited to see her. I’ll get back late Sunday, and then Monday get right back into work, plus my second fall class starts Monday evening.

I’m trying to be aware of what self-care practices I’m letting slide as my routine gets jumbled, and to figure out how I can make space to continue those practices on the days when they would need to look a little different than usual.

Not too much else to report this week, so here’s your weekly dose of Nova, fun at grandma and grandpa’s edition:

Scattered Thursday Thoughts

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! It’s been a busy week and work and a week that breaks with routine at home, so I’m a little scrambled this morning.

The first of four new team members I’ve hired in the past month started working with us on Monday. I’m very excited about this batch of new hires! Things seem to be going well so far.

I start the first of my fall classes (Intro to Spiritual Direction) this evening. I’m excited about the class, I think it’s going to be a good one and it’s exciting to be digging into the whole reason I’m in seminary. My second class (Leadership and Strategies for Social Change) starts in a couple of weeks. I initially thought I was going to have to take a third class this semester (because one class is fewer credits), but I learned last week that I do only need to take two classes to get my credit requirements for financial aid, so that was a very exciting discovery!

My husband is currently staying at their parents’ house to help their mom and brother out while their dad is away on a fun trip visiting some New England baseball stadiums. I left Nova over there with them last night; it was weird being completely alone in our apartment last night, but I managed to get some sleep (despite the fact that I drank way too much coffee yesterday), and it sounds like she did great at her sleepover.

I don’t have too much else to report this week, but I’ll leave you, as ever, with some Nova photos:

Happy Birthday, Nova!

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! It’s been a rather hectic week at work for me, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel of this hiring marathon I’ve been on, so that’s good.

That’s not the main news this week, though. The star of the show this week (as, let’s be honest, is true every week) is Nova! Her one year adoption anniversary was on Sunday, and her 3rd birthday (according to the estimate by the rescue) was Tuesday, so on Sunday we had our families over to celebrate this magical beast we’re so lucky to live with.

As my husband and I ran around cleaning the apartment Sunday morning, Nova was a bit unsure about the whole thing:

Once people started to arrive, though, she had a great time. She got a burger and some cheese while the rest of us ate burgers, brats, corn on the cob, and potato salad (she scarfed her burger so fast I didn’t get any photos). Then she opened some presents:

This was a lot of excitement for Nova, and she got a bit sleepy mid-party:

Then, while the humans had peach crisp and ice cream, Nova got a cookie:

Among the presents was a Harry Potter-themed BarkBox that arrived that morning. Nova looked very sharp in her Slytherin jersey:

After everyone went home, she settled in to chew on her new fishie Benebone and then rested on the couch with me:

All in all, I’d say the party was a hit! In addition to getting to spoil our baby girl, it was the first time in the nearly 12 years that my husband and I have been together that our families were all in one physical location at the same time, so that was another fun milestone.

I think I’ll wrap things up here for this week – hope you’re all hanging in there and that these Nova photos have brightened your day!

Song School 2022

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! We have almost made it to the weekend.

Last week there was no blog, because I was in Lyons, CO at Song School! It was an absolutely incredible week. Some of the folks we usually end up hanging out with couldn’t make it this year, but we were able to reconnect with a bunch of old friends we hadn’t seen since 2019, and we made a bunch of new friends as well. There’s nothing quite like being surrounded by a community of like-minded, creative humans.

This year, rather than camping, we stayed at a tiny house resort across the street from camp (because I didn’t want to have to figure out a battery for my APAP machine or worry about that battery exploding in the heat of the tent). It was adorable:

Planet Bluegrass (the host of Song School) continues to be one of the most beautiful places on earth:

I started off the week deciding I was going to do things that scared me, so I took performance classes with Amy Speace (who is absolutely brilliant and if you’re unfamiliar with her music, please go listen to her album Tucson right now). I volunteered to play my song in the first class and have my performance critiqued (although “critiqued” sounds harsher than it was; it was more a gentle nudging toward greater authenticity), and I learned a TON – and then I found out I’d gotten one of the last performance slots for the open stage on the last night of Song School, so I had all week to integrate what I learned. On the last day of class, we each stood up and sang a few lines of Amazing Grace (or Happy Birthday, for those who didn’t know the words), and then our classmates assigned us three attributes based on their immediate impressions of our performances – two that had positive connotations and one “shadow” word, which we then worked to turn into something we could use to ground ourselves when stepping on stage. The words the group came up with for me were kind, sincere, and reserved, which were turned into the persona of Kind, Sincere Bear. I cried. It’s nice to be seen.

Some of you have seen this on Facebook already, but the classes with Amy were honestly life-changing. Historically, when I performed, even if it was going pretty well (maybe especially if it was going pretty well), I tended to dissociate. I’d step on stage and mostly leave my body.

This performance wasn’t perfect, but I’ve never been so present in my body while playing in front of people. I’ve never had so much fun on stage; I’ve never been prouder of a performance. I will be forever grateful to Amy for the tools she gave me this week, and to all the other friends who made this week so incredible.

Lyrics:

Pen and ink and paper combine
Alchemical fire as you write the big bang
Worlds spring into existence
Ready or not, connect the dots

Stop, take a breath
Feel the magic in your chest
When you know who you are
You are born of stars

At the top, it feels like flying
Giddy with altitude, one with the sky
In this earthbound apparatus
There’s no risk, just innocence

Stop, take a breath
Feel the magic in your chest
When you know who you are
You are born of stars

Some love starts with warm beverages
Held in nervous hands as voices spill secrets
And you slowly learn to ask
If you can dare, for what they might share

Stop, take a breath
Feel the magic in your chest
When you know who you are
You are born of stars

And because I know you’re all wondering – Nova did great at the boarders. We drove all the way home on Friday (which was my husband’s birthday), leaving Lyons at around 6:30am and arriving at the boarding facility just before midnight. The report card from the facility says that Nova was “so sweet” and “the life of the party” at group playtime. (We have a popular kid, apparently…she didn’t get that from either of her parents.) I will leave you, as always, with a few pictures of our girl, who will have been with us for a WHOLE YEAR as of Sunday!

Commencing Vacation

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! I am officially on vacation and very happy about it. The past week has been wild at work – three interviews last Thursday, three Tuesday, two on Wednesday, plus all of the usual work stuff. And on top of that I got a first draft of my final paper for my one remaining summer class written (12 pages, ~3700 words, 35 footnotes), which was a lot but thankfully means I don’t have to bring homework with me on our trip. Some of that writing got done because I gave myself permission to skip some classwork that will have less of an impact on my overall grade, and while I’m wrestling a little bit with that from a recovering perfectionist standpoint, I’m mostly satisfied with that decision and recognize it really was necessary to being able to unplug in the coming week.

Today is going to be a lot of packing and tying up loose ends at home, plus I have therapy this afternoon and am getting my hair cut this evening. Tomorrow we’re dropping Nova off to be boarded early in the morning, then coming back here to load up the car, and then we’re off to Song School! I am so excited. I’m going to be a wreck leaving Nova, but I’m so excited to reconnect with old friends, make new friends, and spend some serious time focused on music. The schedule got released yesterday and it looks (unsurprisingly) incredible.

There will be no blog next week, because we’ll still be at Song School. In the meantime, here are some Nova photos:

Busy, Busy

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! I am rather late in posting today because it’s a busy week and, in particular, a busy Thursday for me. I am interviewing three people for an open position on my team today (in addition to everything else I usually have to do on Thursdays), which has me feeling a bit off-kilter. However! Next Thursday begins a week and a half of PTO so we can go to Song School, so things are looking up.

This whole week is busy, though. Between work being extra chaotic lately and regular homework and the final paper I’m starting to work on (and hoping to at least get to Shitty First Draft status before leaving for CO), I feel like I’m juggling a lot of things and I’m not quite sure I can keep everything in the air. I’m working on trusting my ability to manage multiple projects at once. It’s a process.

Not a lot to talk about this week, but I’ll leave you with your weekly Nova photodump: