Back to Reality

Well, we’ve made it to Thursday. It feels like it’s been a long week already, for no real reason. After taking all of last week off for what would have been Song School, getting back into work this week has been a bit of a struggle. I’m just tired.

On Monday we weathered the scariest storm I’ve seen since moving to Chicago. There were hurricane-force winds across the city and an actual tornado hit our old neighborhood. At our place, the trees outside our windows got pretty beat up, and there was a power line down (thankfully not one that affected us. It came and was gone in a span of less than ten minutes, but it was definitely terrifying for that brief window – we live on the third floor and didn’t have a basement to hide in, so we were huddled in our hallway hoping for the best.

The rest of the week has been okay. I’ve been so tired – getting up in the mornings is a struggle. But it’s almost Friday, and I get to play D&D twice this weekend, so that’s something to look forward to.

I hope you’re all hanging in there!

Missing My People

It’s Thursday, and I almost did not blog this week. I’m taking the week off from work, because this was supposed to be the week of Song School, and I figured I’d keep the time I’d requested back when the summer looked more optimistic.

It’s been really great to have the time off, to rest and reset. But it’s also been sad – I miss Song School so much. We’ve been doing our best to recreate parts of the experience at home.

Song School canopy in the living room!

We set up the canopy that’s usually outside of our tent at Song School in our living room – because we have no overhead light fixture, it just barely fits. We initially did it to be funny, but how it’s transformed the space has been pretty magical.

Zoom writing hangouts

We’ve also been hosting some Zoom hangouts with people from Song School. Every morning this week we’ve set up some quiet time to hang out and write for an hour, and it’s felt so good. Just seeing the faces of some of our Song School friends has helped to ground me in time and space in a way I feel like I haven’t been since the pandemic started. It’s nothing like the real Song School, but it’s been a better substitute than I thought it was going to be. We’ve had more people show up than we expected, too, which has been fun.

We also hosted a little Zoom song circle on Tuesday night (and we’re planning to again tonight), which was fun – it’s great to hear what people have been working on.

It’s hard to not be able to hug these people we love so much, to be in a place where we can’t listen to the river or see the stars. But seeing some of their faces, even just over a computer screen, has brought me so much joy even in the middle of grieving the loss of this incredibly important week in our year.

Tomorrow morning we’re hosting an extra writing session (Song School would be wrapping up tonight, if it was happening), and then we’ll fall into our familiar weekend rhythm before I start working again on Monday. I’m glad I took this time off (it’s also the most extended break I’ve had since Christmas, and I’m only just realizing how much my brain needed that), and I’m hoping it leaves me in a better place for diving back into “normal” life…as close to normal as we get these days, anyway.

Just Married

Hello, dear readers! It’s been another week, and what a week it’s been. On Saturday, approximately two months after deciding that this was the best course forward for us, my partner and I got married in a lovely ceremony held over Zoom. We met online almost ten years ago, so it felt sort of fitting that we got married online, too. I will warn you right now that this post will be both sappy and photo-heavy, but hey, I got married, what did you expect?

Wedding backdrop - bookshelves organized by color, with all sorts of silk flowers arranged artfully among the books.
Our wedding backdrop – yes, most of our books are arranged in a rainbow!

We bought a whole bunch of silk flowers and arranged them on our bookshelves, which we used as our backdrop for the wedding.

On top of the bookshelves were each of our most beloved childhood toys, Blankie (mine) and Piggy (my partner’s), which happen to be from the same toy line – this is easily one of the most barf-worthy things about us.

Blankie and Piggy on top of the bookshelf
Blankie and Piggy had seats of honor

But let’s back up. We started off our morning with an extra-special breakfast delivery from our faves at Smack Dab, which was absolutely delightful – so delightful, in fact, that we forgot to take pictures of it. I did grab a picture of the bag, though:

Seriously, they're the best (bag reads, "Threw in cinnamon rolls, too! Congrats! We love you! xoxo Smack Dab"
How sweet are they?

Then we rushed around and finished cleaning the apartment before putting on our dress shirts and finally launching the Zoom call.

I’m not going to share pictures of everyone on the Zoom call because I didn’t ask for permissions to do that, but this is what we looked like to our guests (thanks for sending this shot, N!):

The soon-to-be husbands look at the computer camera; a Beanie Baby turtle (Prime Minister Winston Turthill) smiles and holds their rings on his back.
Prime Minister Winston Turthill was so thrilled to serve as the ring cushion!

The ceremony itself was beautiful – the friend who officiated wrote the perfect blessing and vows for us, our friends Eli and Heather performed beautiful songs (that they’d each written for their spouses), the rings fit and we didn’t hurt each other putting them on, and we got to see so many of our loved ones smiling and cheering us on as we took this step (in addition to some delightful bonus appearances by pets). (It was also under 15 minutes long, which is my favorite kind of wedding.) There were toasts (one of which included actual toast), and then we split all the guests up into “breakout rooms” so that we could visit with folks more easily while we ate dessert.

An enormous and delicious New York style cheesecake with a (gluten free) cookie crust sits atop a table covered in a grey tablecloth.
Cheesecake! Made by nuns in New York!

We had cheesecake and coffee! The cheesecake was made by nuns at a monastery in New York – turns out finding gluten free cheesecake with a crust is a bit of a challenge – and it was delicious.

It was so good to be able to hop around and see friends and family, many of whom we hadn’t seen in years. Had we gotten married under different circumstances, it probably would have been a much smaller crowd, but thanks to the internet, we had people there from all over the country (and overseas) able to join us. There were cats, dogs, and two- and three-week old babies included, too. It was just lovely.

After we signed off, we realized we should probably snap some photos of ourselves while the light (which we don’t get a ton of in our living room) was still good. Here’s a sampling of some of our favorites:

The rest of the weekend was lovely, too – we ordered Indian food, and really just relaxed in our newly-clean apartment.

There have been some complicated feelings, too – grief around those who couldn’t (or chose not to) be there with us, mostly. But overall we have just been overwhelmed with gratitude for the amazing communities and love we’ve found ourselves surrounded by. We are truly extraordinarily lucky to have each other and to be so supported by so many of the people in our lives.

So here’s to getting through it all together – for love (and health insurance)!

It’s Almost Here!

Hello, dear readers! It’s gonna be a short blog today.

It’s been a busy week – we’re getting married on Saturday! So most of this week has been cleaning and getting the final administrative details in place. Tonight we’re doing a rehearsal for the technology piece so we can figure out where we want to set everything up. Yesterday our cheesecake arrived, which was one of the pieces I was most nervous about – so many places have had unexpected shipping delays lately that I didn’t really trust the estimated delivery date.

I’m looking forward to (virtually) gathering and celebrating with friends and family on Saturday. I’m extremely overwhelmed in this particular moment (some of my body’s most annoying stress responses are raising their heads right now), but I know it’s going to be worth it. I’m also kind of glad this is the format the wedding is happening in – it meant we could invite people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to join us. I’m having some Feelings about my grandparents not being present (three of them are gone and the one remaining isn’t interested in attending), but I’m also just really grateful for the community we’re going to have around us on Saturday.

Now I’m off to try to kick ass at work so I can leave for a long weekend on a high note. Hang in there, everyone – stay hydrated, wear your masks, take care of yourselves and each other.

Busy

Hello, dear readers! We’ve made it to another Thursday. Where has the week gone?

Last Friday, I took the day off from work and my partner and I helped a friend move. It ended up being a very long day – in addition to the move, we also decided to go to IKEA. I’m so, so glad we were able to help…I was also so, so tired on Saturday that I did basically nothing all day. Sunday we put together the furniture we’d picked up at IKEA (an actual desk chair for me and a desk for my partner).

The beginning of this week wasn’t bad – pretty nondescript, really. Yesterday, though, I woke up with some pretty obnoxious vertigo. (This is a thing that happens almost every year when my allergies get really bad – one or both of my ears get plugged and it throws my balance way off.) I ended up having to take the second half of the day off from work, because looking between my two computer screens was making my head swim. I’m feeling somewhat better today, but I still have moments where I go to take a step and sort of start listing to one side. Hoping it clears up in the next day or so and that I don’t end up with an ear infection right before the wedding…

The wedding is the thing I’m mostly focused on right now. Our rings came yesterday, and they fit and look lovely, so that’s exciting. We have a LOT of cleaning up to do around the apartment, and still have a few technological details to work out. We’re just over a week away from the big day, so I’m trying not to freak out. I’m glad that we’re getting married, and I’m looking forward to the wedding…I’m also glad we didn’t give ourselves more than two months to plan, because I can see how it just takes over your life after a certain point.

I hope you’re all hanging in there. Keep wearing your masks and washing your hands. Stay hydrated. Keep educating yourselves and standing up for the marginalized. (I recently subscribed to the Anti-Racism Daily, and I’m finding it a really helpful resource.) We’re all in this together.

Another Week Closer

Hello, dear readers – Thursday is again upon us. We’ve almost made it through another week.

And just like that, my partner and I are just over two weeks away from our wedding! Yesterday we got our marriage license. We also received the delivery of the (many) silk flowers we ordered:

This is…most of them. lol

It’s feeling more and more real as time goes on, and I’m excited about it, even if I’m overwhelmed by everything that needs doing before then.

I don’t have a lot of other updates right now. It’s been a mostly good week with a lot of anxiety in the mix.

I hope you’re all hanging in there and staying safe. Wear your masks, wash your hands, keep social distancing. I know it sucks, but it’s what needs to happen until we get a vaccine.

Tired

Hello, dear readers – we’ve made it to another Thursday. I don’t know about you all, but I am tired. I’ve been tired all week.

Last Saturday I picked up an overtime shift for work (we’re not particularly busy on the weekends so it was an easy way to make some nice extra money), and I spent the entire shift fighting the urge to go take a nap. That’s pretty much how I’ve felt every day this week.

Tomorrow I am not working (since Saturday is Independence Day here in the US, we have Friday off), but I have to get up early and go get an ultrasound of my thyroid done, so that’s obnoxious. Monday I went to the doctor to get it checked out, because it feels swollen and I’ve been showing a few other symptoms that could be associated with hyperthyroid, and this is the next step in getting that checked out. Which is good; I’m grateful the doctor listened to me and took me seriously. I just don’t particularly like going to the doctor anyway, and that is doubly true during a pandemic. Fingers crossed that the ultrasound gives us some answers.

I think between the anxiety around the thyroid stuff and the anxiety around…*gestures wildly at everything*…I just haven’t been sleeping all that well. Last night in particular felt like nightmare after nightmare and it was not especially restful.

But hey, I’m looking at a three-day weekend; that has to count for something.

Obsessed

Hello, dear readers! I’m pretty sure it’s Thursday. Time has felt particularly nebulous this week.

On Friday, my new octave mandolin arrived, and I am obsessed with it. I’ve played almost every day since it arrived. It’s beautiful and everything I wanted.

Here’s a video of me playing “Sí Bheag, Sí Mhór,” one of my favorite songs to play on mandolin. I’m a little rusty, but i love how this instrument sounds.

I don’t have a lot of other news this week, but I’d like to leave you with this article. It pulls no punches and is a hard read, but I believe it’s important for framing our conversations about racism.

I hope you’re hanging in there. Wear a mask when you go out, and take care of yourself and your people!

Highs and Lows

Hello, dear readers. We’ve made it to another Thursday.

I feel like this week has been a bit of a mixed bag for me. I’ve been anxious and tired, and my allergies are pretty bad right now (cottonwood season gets me every year).

On the other hand, I managed the very exciting achievement of saving up and paying for my dream instrument this week. It should arrive this weekend, and I am over the moon about it. It’s a new octave mandolin, and it’s SO PRETTY:

I’m so excited!

We also managed to get wedding invitations finished and emailed out this week, so that felt like an accomplishment.

I am going to keep this short again, but I want to leave you with this article from the Washington Post that I found challenging but helpful this week. If you’re white, please take the time to read it and sit with it a while – educating ourselves is important, but anti-racism is not an academic exercise. Dismantling white supremacy and the systemic oppression of Black people requires action, and not just in the moments when the Black Lives Matter movement is front and center in our social media feeds. This is lifelong work.

Keep Doing Something

Hello, dear readers – I actually remembered that it’s Thursday for once, so that’s something.

I think this is going to be another short post. Not much of note happened on a personal level this week; on the other hand, there’s been a LOT happening in the world at large. It feels like people are finally actually waking up to the reality of police brutality. Anti-racism resources abound (these links will take you to a few things I’ve found helpful this week), and people also seem to finally be coming around to the idea that being “not racist” is not enough – it is necessary to be actively anti-racist.

I definitely have a long way to go in this journey. I’m still figuring it out, and I recognize that unlearning white supremacy and anti-Blackness is the work of a lifetime. It’s going to require sustained effort for the rest of my life and it’s not going to be fun. But it’s necessary work.

If you’re looking for something to do this week, here’s a place to start. First, read this FAQ about defunding the police. Then, if you’re in the US, click here to go to a site that will help you email government officials about reallocating police budgets toward community resources (which is where that money belongs and can do much more good).