It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday!

It is officially February, which means that FAWM has officially begun, and I am so excited about it! My goal going in this year was to get at least one song written, and I’ve already surpassed that by getting up early the past two mornings to write. FAWM is my favorite part of the internet, and the creative energy and output is truly astonishing. I’m loving listening to what friends and strangers are posting, and feeling inspired to see how far I can get this year. Last year I only managed 3 songs, which was still more than I expected given I was in my first semester of seminary, so we’ll see. My second class starts next week, so I’ll have less time after that.

Other than that, it’s a pretty normal week. Work has been a little up and down, but not as overwhelming as the past few weeks, so that’s nice. I picked up a book this week that a friend recommended that I’m excited to dig into. I’m working on knitting the sleeves of a sweater. I’m glad the sun has been out, even though it’s been pretty cold. I’m just generally in a better headspace this week than I was last week, and that’s nice.

I shall leave you, as always, with some Nova photos:

Thursday Ramblings

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! We had Monday off at work in observance of Lunar New Year, and then I ended up only working half of Tuesday because I was wrestling with a headache, so I’m all sorts of turned around about what day it is this week.

It’s been an okay week – I’ve gotten some knitting done, and am so far staying caught up on homework. I’m really enjoying my Comparative Religious Ethics class, and I’m really excited to start my next Spiritual Direction class in a couple of weeks. I also made the decision last week to switch from going for a MAL (Master of Arts in Leadership) in Spiritual Direction to an MDiv in Spiritual Direction; I’ll get to take more classes I’m interested in, and I think it’ll open up more possibilities for what I might do with the degree post-graduation. It means I’m adding an extra year or so onto my seminary journey, but I’ll still be done before I’m 40, so that’s fun.

Work has continued to feel kind of bananas, but I’m managing to stay afloat at this point. I need to nail down what I’m doing for a stretch project over the next few months (keeping in mind that I’ll be on medical leave for one of those months to recover from the hysterectomy); I have some ideas, just need to get them organized.

I’m very excited that FAWM is less than a week away! It’s always one of the highlights of my year. Even if I don’t get much writing done this time around, I’m excited to hear what everyone else comes up with.

I think that’s about it for me this week; here’s your weekly dose of Nova:

Discombobulated

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. This post is going up late because it has been A Week. I was anticipating a fairly laid-back January at work, and the last two weeks that has…not panned out as expected. It’s been kind of bananas, with a lot of people needing things from me and me also trying to do a better job of staying on top of the myriad of things that fall under the purview of my position. In addition to work being wild, school has started back up and there have been some technical difficulties with getting my class rolling (not just for me, but for the whole class). And today, for reasons I have yet to figure out, my back and several other joints are cranky. So I’m feeling a bit discombobulated and out of sorts today.

There’s been good stuff lately too, though. Monday I got to spend a lot of the day hanging out with my best friend, and that was lovely. I’m also experimenting with a new hobby (although now that I’ve figured out the basics it’s on pause until I get the proper equipment) – tablet weaving!

A knitting podcast we listen to sometimes was talking about weaving, and my brain latched onto the idea, and then one thing led to another and here we are.

I’ve also been reading a really lovely book called Legends & Lattes, which is billed as a novel of “high fantasy and low stakes” and is basically the fantasy equivalent of a cozy mystery, I think. It’s so good! The writing is excellent and the characters are interesting and it’s just a blast to read.

I think that’s where I’ll leave you for this week. As always, here’s your Nova fix:

Is It Friday Yet?

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. Every day since Monday I’ve had a thought along the lines of “Ah, yes, Friday!” and then realized it was not, in fact, Friday. It’s still not Friday. It is Thursday. But that means it’s almost Friday, which is more than I could say on Monday when I got confused about what day it was.

Aside from my utter inability to remember what day it is, it’s been a pretty unremarkable week. Work has been frustrating at times, but I’ve felt reasonably productive and like I’m doing a better job of staying on top of the various pieces of my role lately, so that’s encouraging, at least. This week marks the first week of the semester for me, and the asynchronous class I’m taking has started (my other class doesn’t start until February). I’m really rather excited about this class (even though there have been some technical difficulties at the outset with getting information out to students) – it’s a Comparative Religious Ethics class, and while there’s going to be a fair bit of reading for this one, the titles of all of the readings sound really interesting. Thankfully, there are no big papers or anything due the week of and the week after my surgery in March, so I’m hoping I can work ahead a little bit and not fall behind when that happens. I did already email the professor to let him know I might be a bit less active on the online forum those weeks.

I don’t have a whole heck of a lot else to report this week. I shall leave you with some Nova naps from the past week:

Happy New Year!

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to the first Thursday of 2023! We made it. I hope you’re all hanging in there and that your new years are starting off gently.

I’m having a decent start to my new year so far. I found out yesterday that I somehow managed to swing A’s in both of my classes last semester – I was not expecting an A in the one class I was really struggling with, so that was a pleasant surprise. I also started a new morning routine a few days before the new year, and I’m now 8 days into meditating and journaling in the mornings before I get into my day. I’m not particularly a morning person, but I do tend to function better if I can ease into my day and have extra time in the morning, rather than rolling out of bed, brushing my teeth, and logging into work. So that all feels really good.

It’s been snowing for the past few days here – I think we’ve gotten a bit over a foot here in St. Paul. Nova is over the moon about it. It’s made me want to be extra cozy, so I made a big batch of soup a few days ago, and that’s been great to be able to have on these snowy days.

I don’t have a whole heck of a lot to write about this week – things are going okay and also I feel like I’m still in the liminal space between holidays since my first spring semester class doesn’t start until next week. I’ll leave you with some photos of Nova enjoying the weather:

2022/2023

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to the last Thursday of 2022! What a year it’s been. 2022 brought a bunch of changes, challenges, and revelations. To highlight just some of what happened:

  • I started my graduate studies in Spiritual Direction at United Theological Seminary.
  • I did a sleep study and found out I’m really bad at breathing when I sleep. I consequently ended up getting an APAP machine, and it has been life-changing.
  • In April I made a last-minute trip to Chicago to see a friend in a play, and got to catch up with some of my favorite people.
  • I went on my first big company trip to New York City in May and got to meet a bunch of the people I’d only known through screens for the past two years.
  • I got my Carrie Fisher tribute tattoo.
  • We made it back to Song School after a couple of years away; I took a performance class with Amy Speace that was also life-changing.
  • The end of August marked a whole year with Nova, and we had a party to celebrate her 3rd birthday.
  • I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in September, and that’s brought a whole bunch of new medications and routines into my life.
  • We talked my best friend into moving into our building, and we live in a sitcom now, and it’s wonderful.
  • I took a songwriting class online with Sue Demel through the Old Town School of Folk Music and actually wrote some songs that I’m pretty happy with.
  • I passed all of my first year of seminary classes.

In addition to all that, we helped several members of our chosen family navigate a variety of crises, and I started making some new friends at school and through D&D.

My big, overarching goal for 2022 was to learn to approach life with more curiosity and compassion and less of a need for control. I think I made pretty good progress, although there’s definitely still room for growth. It’s leading me straight into the goal for 2023, which is to lean into vulnerability and unapologetically ask for what I need. As my therapist reminded me a couple of weeks ago – “you don’t need to be perfect to ask for your needs to be met.”

I think I’m going to wrap it up there for the year. I hope your holiday season has been reasonably gentle and that you’re able to go into the new year feeling refreshed. I’ll send you off with these holiday photos of Nova:

A Chilly Merry Happy

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! Yesterday was the Winter Solstice, so every day from here until June is going to get a little bit longer. And today it is very wintery indeed here in Minnesota.

I’m going to need to take Nova out soon, and I’m not especially looking forward to it.

Happy Hanukkah to my friends who celebrate! And a Merry almost Christmas to those to whom it applies. It’s going to be a busy weekend despite the cold as we celebrate with family. I am hoping to guard tomorrow as a mostly free day where I can relax, do some intention-setting for the new year, and catch up on sleep, because the rest of the weekend is pretty packed.

I don’t have too much else to talk about today, so I’ll leave you with your weekly dose of Nova:

Let it Snow

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! It’s been a long week for not particularly concrete reasons, and I spent a lot of yesterday feeling like it should be Friday, but here we are. It’s snowing in the Twin Cities today – last I looked they’re predicting we’ll get 5-8 inches. Part of me wants to be grinchy about it, but Nova is so happy that it’s hard to be upset. And it is pretty, and it’s covering all the gross, grey, dirty snow that was mostly melted, which is nice.

One of the more concrete things that has made this week feel very long is that I’ve been dealing with a lot of auditory sensitivity. This has been one of the most persistent clues in my life that I fall somewhere on the neurodivergent spectrum of existence – perfectly ordinary sounds suddenly feel unbearably loud, not in a way that gives me a headache or would be a sign of a migraine or something, but they’re just…too much, and if I can’t mitigate the sounds somehow, suddenly everything feels too loud, from lights to texture, etc., and I’m stuck fighting a meltdown. In a fit of overwhelm earlier in the week I ordered some fancy ear plugs that Facebook and Instagram have been advertising to me for forever. They arrived yesterday, and…holy shit, y’all. These are a game-changer. I could tell they were sort of helping when I was wearing them while I was working and felt a little better able to focus, but then as I was wrapping up work, my best friend (who lives upstairs) asked if she could come down to play our piano for a bit. Now, I love our piano, but in our old industrial apartment with its 12 foot corrugated cement ceilings, it is VERY bright, and I often find that it’s too much for my system to handle. In the back of my head I was trying to think of polite ways to excuse myself from the apartment if I got overwhelmed, but it turned out I didn’t need to worry. These ear plugs cut the bright frequencies that I find really hard to cope with, and what was left was a perfectly pleasant experience of listening to a friend make music. I’m blown away. So for my fellow neuro-spicy types out there, if you’ve also been receiving targeted ads for Loop ear plugs, I can say they get two thumbs up from me. I got the Engage Plus variety for myself, and while they weren’t cheap, so far I’m confident they’re going to be worth it for my (relative) sanity.

I’ve mostly managed to convince my brain at this point that I don’t need to worry that I’ve forgotten a homework assignment, which is great. I’m still waiting on final grades, but I’m not too worried about that – I know that I passed both classes and that was my goal. (I think I probably broke my straight-A streak, but that’s also okay, even if the perfectionist part of my brain is fighting me on that.) I’m happy to have a break between semesters, and am also really looking forward to next semester’s classes!

I think that’s where I’ll wrap this up this week. As always here’s your weekly Nova spam:

Hurry Up and Wait

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! It’s been one of those weeks where I’m never quite sure what day it is, for one reason or another. It’s been an ordinary week in some ways and a big week in others.

First big item: I’m done with my semester, which means I’m done with my first year of grad school! It’s wild to me that it’s already been a year. I’m so grateful for what I’ve learned so far and the connections I’m making with classmates and instructors. I’m continuing to have a deep sense of rightness in pursuing this degree, even if I’m still not 100% certain what life after I graduate will look like and how I’ll be using it. The vision of the future is slowly gaining some clarity, and I’ve got time to figure out the details.

The other big news is that the surgery scheduler called and I have a date for my hysterectomy! And…it’s not until March. But at least it’s scheduled, and three months isn’t all that long to wait when I’ve already been waiting basically half my life. It’ll be happening in the middle of the semester, so I’m going to end up taking about a month of medical leave from work to recover, but I’ve gotten that process kicked off and I think everything is going to work out.

I think I’m going to leave it there for this week. As always, here’s your weekly dose of Nova:

Nine Years!

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday!

Yesterday marks NINE YEARS since I started this blog. I have posted something almost every Thursday for nine entire years. This is the longest I’ve ever stuck with one particular creative project, and I’m proud and also a bit dismayed that I’ve managed to keep it up.

This blog started out nine years ago primarily to record thoughts, feelings, and experiences around gender transition. For the last many years it’s been more of a general story-of-my-life sort of blog, but today, seeing as we’ve hit a major blogging anniversary, I feel like it’s appropriate to circle back to that original purpose.

Early last week, I had a consultation with an ob-gyn to discuss getting a hysterectomy. I’ve known I wanted to do this since before I knew I was trans. I was nervous going into the appointment, but it went really well.

Since then, I’ve gotten the requisite letters of justification for insurance purposes from my therapist and my primary care doctor, and the surgical orders have been put in; now, I’m just waiting on their scheduler to call me. In a perfect world, I’ll have this done by the end of the year!

It’s wild to think that this thing I’ve wanted to do for well over a decade is immanent to the point that it could be just weeks away. I’m not super looking forward to the recovery, but thankfully I have a great support network here. Mostly, I’m just very excited by the prospect of being done.

In non-transition news, we got almost 6 inches of snow on Tuesday, and Nova is over the moon about it. I’ll leave you with this video of her in her happy place: