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:

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:

Fighting for Focus

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday. I started my day off nearly forgetting I had a 7:30am meeting scheduled (I usually start working at 8), but I managed to be almost on time, so that was a win.

I have been struggling this week to find focus. I’m still behind on the project for my Monday class, although I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll be able to get caught up tomorrow since I have work off for Veterans Day. I at least got the parts rewritten that I needed to rewrite, and if I can get this next piece taken care of tomorrow, I’ll be in a good place to be on time with the rest of the pieces. Even at work, though, I’m feeling scatterbrained and stretched thin, even though it objectively hasn’t been a particularly wild week for me. Some of it might be the weather – it’s been overcast and rainy here the past few days, and that always makes me want to just curl up with a book and ignore all responsibilities. Moving off of DST last weekend also threw me for a bit of a loop, I think.

Tonight is the penultimate session of my Intro to Spiritual Direction class, and I’m kind of sad that it’s winding down. I mean, on the one hand, it’s exciting to be moving forward with it. But on the other…it’s just a really lovely group of people, and while I know I’ll still be in class with many of them next semester, each class creates and holds a unique sort of space, and this one has been particularly lovely and supportive.

This weekend should be fun – Sunday we’re going to a drag brunch for my cousin’s roommate’s birthday, and then that evening we’re going to see Semler in concert. It should be a good time. Fingers crossed that Nova behaves for her babysitters.

Speaking of Nova, I’ll leave you with some sleepy puppy pictures this week:

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:

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:

Nervous System Regulation

Hello, dear readers, and welcome to Thursday! (I initially wrote that as “welcome to Thursday?” which actually feels pretty accurate right now.) It’s been a decent week so far – we’ve managed to maintain our newly-cleaned kitchen pretty well, we’ve cooked a few more times (I’m making tacos again tonight), and things are generally good.

We’re leaving in a couple of weeks for Song School, and I’m so excited. I’m also so anxious. We’re boarding Nova for the first time for this trip, and that’s a stressful thought – she has separation anxiety, but I know I do, too. (We took her to the vet yesterday to get her up-to-date on all her booster shots, and they gave us some trazodone for her to help with the anxiety of boarding and of going to the groomer.) It’s the longest trip my husband and I will have taken together since the last time we went in 2019. Instead of camping this year (since I didn’t want to figure out camping with a PAP machine), we’re staying at a tiny house resort across the street from the festival grounds where Song School happens, which is exciting but also unfamiliar. On top of the trip itself, I have a big final paper due for my one remaining summer class the Friday after we get back, so I need to start on that (thankfully I know what I’m writing about and got that approved by my professor, just waiting for the books I need to arrive so I can get going on it). And at work I’ve just kicked off the process of hiring a new person, and I know I have at least a couple more people I’ll be hiring in the next couple of months. It’s all just adding up to a lot – I have a tendency toward travel anxiety anyway, and all of these layers of stress are compounding into what feels like an unreasonable amount of nerves for something that is ultimately a thing I’m really looking forward to.

I’ve been thinking a lot about neurodivergence lately, and how that part of myself intersects with the other parts of me. I’m learning how to be gentler with myself, to acknowledge when I need accommodations in some situations, and to work out how to make those accommodations happen. Since I’m in a particularly stressful time (and a time that is going to continue to be stressful after I get back from Song School, as I’ll be taking 3 classes this fall on top of working full time), I’m really trying to focus on what my body needs and how to keep my nervous system a little more regulated amidst the stress. I am trying to lean into my self care and soul care practices that help keep me steady.

Thankfully, I have therapy this afternoon and can brainstorm additional regulatory tactics with my therapist. I’m grateful that, despite the stress, I’m feeling capable of handling everything. I know I have the capacity to do the things I need to do; I’m just learning how to honor that capacity without trying to power through things I don’t need to power through.

Anyway, I’ve rambled enough and I’m late in getting this posted, so I shall leave you with your weekly Nova photodump:

Back and Still Breathing

Hello, dear readers! Welcome to Thursday. It has been A Week. In fact, it’s been Two Weeks.

Life has been utter madness the past couple of weeks. We had multiple family members end up in some sort of crisis that we had the means to assist with to some degree – I won’t go into detail, because they aren’t my stories to tell, but this is the basic outline:

  • The week before I left for my work trip to NYC, we made some last-minute plans for my husband to travel to Boston to help someone out for a week. The plan was for them to leave here on Wednesday while I was still in NY; we arranged for Nova to stay with my husband’s godmother for a few days until I got back.
  • The day I left for NY, a situation closer to home blew up, and we ended up needing to host some folks and their stuff in our apartment. My husband managed to get an extra key to our apartment from the building manager.
  • Wednesday, my husband called me in a panic because Nova had gotten into a box of dried goods while they were at an appointment. Thankfully, she had pretty much just destroyed packaging and left the actual food alone, so they didn’t need to go to the emergency vet before my husband went to Boston. That night was our giant company party (which was fun, but a lot). While at the party, I learned there were tornado warnings happening back at home. (Thankfully, everyone was okay.)
  • Friday, I planned to get to the airport early and work from there until my 3pm flight. I am not usually superstitious about Friday the 13th, but it was a doozy:
    • I had to go through the body scanner twice and then get patted down because my (lack of) junk was flagged as suspicious.
    • My laptop refused to connect to the airport wifi, and I was running low on phone data.
    • I had forgotten to charge my laptop before I left the hotel, and there was a paucity of outlets in the terminal I was waiting in at Newark.
    • Just as I was figuring out a work situation, I got news that someone I’d been face-to-face with the day before had tested positive for covid.
    • Thankfully, a coworker was able to take over most of what I’d been planning on doing from the airport as I scrambled to find alternative housing for the folks who were still at our apartment.
  • I got home, managed to get folks to their next temporary space, did a quick sweep of the apartment to make sure things were Nova-proofed, picked up Nova from my husband’s godmother’s house, got home, and crashed.

It’s been a weird week since then, being solo with Nova, but she’s been a trooper and is mostly behaving herself. I’ve been testing for covid daily, because of course, every day more of my coworkers are testing positive. I’m staying masked anytime I leave the apartment (which I was mostly still doing anyway, but I’m being a lot stricter about it now). Last night was a kickoff Zoom for the asynchronous class I’m taking over the summer, and I’m a bit nervous about the class – there’s a lot of reading, and I’m adding an intense, four-week class in June that meets twice a week on top of it. But I’ll figure it out.

In positive news, the PAP machine is doing its job – I was getting up early and going to bed late all week in NY and didn’t really crash until Saturday night. This week I’ve been continuing to get up earlier; I haven’t stayed up as late, but that’s mostly out of overwhelm at the overstuffed state of my apartment. I’m grateful that I started PAP therapy when I did and that it’s going well, because I don’t know how I would have managed otherwise.

I’m also extremely grateful for a solid support network, for therapy, and for all the hard work I’ve put into therapy over the past few years. I’m staying pretty regulated and doing a decent job of using my resources rather than melting down or spiralling into a panic, which would not have been the case if this had happened even just a year or two ago.

All that to say, I am feeling pretty depleted right now, but I’m okay. I’m going to be joining an in-person D&D game here in the Twin Cities that starts next week, and while that’s yet another thing on the schedule, it’s D&D, which is such a great outlet. Play is important and I want to do more of it. I’m hoping to spend a little time this weekend messing around with some new music equipment. My husband comes home tonight and Nova is going to be SO HAPPY (and so will I).

I shall leave you with some photos of Nova that I’ve taken since coming home:

Better Sleep and Impending Adventure

Hello, dear readers! We’ve made it to Thursday. I have felt uncertain of the day of the week pretty much every day since Monday, so that’s been interesting, but the weekend is almost here, which is lovely (and also a little stressful, but more on that below.)

Monday morning I called the home medical equipment clinic back about the leaking mask for my PAP machine, and managed to snag an appointment for Tuesday afternoon. I was able to get a new mask, and while I still had a few minor issues with the fit Tuesday night, last night I was able to shift from my side to my back and back again several times, and had basically the least amount of leaking I’ve had in the entire two and a half weeks I’ve been using the machine, so that was exciting. I only had to get up a couple of times last night and I feel tentatively optimistic that I’ve turned a corner and things will be easier/more comfortable from here on out. I’ve had a bit more energy the past couple of days, and while I’m not 100% sure if that’s from the PAP machine or just the fact that the sun came out and it finally feels more like spring, it seems like a good sign.

Tonight I’m getting coffee with a friend I’ve known since middle school, and I’m very excited about that (and also feeling a little old when I think about just how old our friendship is haha). This weekend we’re going to my in-laws’ place for Mother’s Day, and I will also be spending most of the weekend packing and preparing for next week, because…

I’m going to New York for work! Our big company party was postponed from February to next week, and while I’m excited on the one hand (I haven’t been to NYC since I was in high school, and I’m looking forward to meeting a bunch of my colleagues from around the world), I’m also extremely overwhelmed (it’s going to be a lot of peopling, and mask mandates are dropping, so while I’ll be masked a fair percentage of the time, a lot of people won’t be, and it’s just…a lot). I need to make my packing list and figure out a few minor logistical things. I’m sure it’ll be a good trip, but the packing and preparing is not going to make for the most relaxing weekend.

All of that to say, there might not be a blog next week, since my schedule will be all sorts of weird. We’ll see what happens.

I will leave you, as always, with a few Nova photos from the week, including a gif of her chasing her tail (some context for that image – we haven’t gotten rid of our old mattress since our new one came a week ago, and Nova has been having a ball with it on the living room floor):

Vacation Imminent

Hello, dear readers! We have made it to another Thursday. I kept thinking yesterday was Thursday, even though nothing about the day indicated that it was anything other than Wednesday, and today I woke up thinking it was Friday, so we’re not off to the best possible start. Still, it’s almost Friday, and that has to count for something.

Last weekend I wrote my first real paper for seminary. It was just a few pages long, but it was more academic than any writing I’ve done in over a decade, and the citation style was different than what I used in my undergrad life. It didn’t actually take me that long once I sat down to do the writing, but gathering the materials and trying to make everything coherent was a struggle.

But now, it’s almost a vacation week for me! Next week is symposium week at school, meaning no classes and no homework due. I decided to also take the week off from work (because my brain really needs a break). One of our best friends from Chicago is coming up to hang out for a few days, and it’s going to be great. I am very excited to have almost zero calendar commitments for a whole week.

I am pretty fried and don’t have a whole lot else to talk about this week, so I’ll leave you with these photos of Nova: